Unfortunately December did not start of well for Love & Hip Hop New York, reality star, Mendeecees Harris. The 36 year-old, Harlem native was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison on Tuesday, December 1, 2015.

Harris, who is married to Yandy from the popular show was convicted for his role in a drug trafficking conspiracy that authorities claim shipped massive amounts of cocaine and heroin from downstate New York to the Rochester region.

With his wife, Yandy Smith by his side sitting in court, with the couple’s 10-month-old daughter, Skylar, Harris apologized in court “for any trouble I have caused the city of Rochester.”

At sentencing, Harris, said he ventured into the drug game, after growing up in a fatherless home, in a tough neighborhood of Harlem, NY. He appeared very sympathetic to his wrongdoings and cited his kids as his reasonings for changing his lifestyle.

“Ever since having children, I’ve been trying to right my wrongs,” he told U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci Jr. at the sentencing.

Harris pled guilty this past April to conspiracy to distribute and posses heroin and cocaine. The possibility of prison has hovered over the star’s head for quite sometime, and the show capitalized off his circumstances by including his criminal proceedings in the show’s plot. Sadly that segment of the show proved to be very realistic. Though Harris agreed to a plea, his 8 year sentence was the lowest possible term under a plea agreement that included a maximum prison sentence of just over 10 years. As part of his sentencing Harris must forfeit his $170,000 earnings from his participation on Love and Hip Hop, and forfeit possession of a Audi R8 sports car worth $111,000. 

Prosecutors claim that Harris was involved in a drug trafficking ring from 2005 to 2012, which included involvement in operation that distributed in Rochester, NY, which is where he ultimately was convicted. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Sherman, showed no compassion for Harris as he requested a sentence close to the 10 years, saying that an extensive sentence, coupled with Harris’ notoriety and popularity, would show young people “that there are real consequences to the kind of criminal conduct he engaged in.”

I am not justifying Mendeecees actions but Sherman’s comments makes me wonder if this was an obvious attempt for the criminal justice system to make another example out of a young black man, in the hopes of society deterrence.

Harris has apparently, changed the course of his life for the better as he regularly speaks to groups of disadvantaged children and teens in New York City and the East Coast. One program in particular provided dozens of letters from youngsters and young men who said Harris’ presentation about his life helped them decide to steer clear of trouble.

“I want to make my family proud of me like your family and fans are proud of you,” one young man wrote in a letter that Harris’ attorney, Donald Thompson, read aloud in court.

Harris’ attorney said the judge recognized the work Harris has been doing since his arrest to deter young people from crime.

“The possibility of a jail sentence has been well known in the community,” attorney Donald Thompson said by phone after the sentencing, “and he’s talked about that with kids who are coming up in difficult situations and have to make life choices, whether it’s a good idea to make a whole lot of money selling drugs or make less money and not have to be looking over your shoulder.”

The sentencing range for charges against Harris was 97 months to 121 months but Judge, Geraci settled in on the lesser sentence.

“This is a tough case, Mr. Harris, because of the fact you were transporting poison to this community,”said the Judge. However, Judge Geraci did acknowledge how Harris’ has positively affected young people and he suggested that he can continue to do so when he leaves prison.

Harris already served 15 months,  prior to being released under bail. With good behavior, he could have five to six years of incarceration remaining. Geraci allowed Harris to remain free until the federal Bureau of Prisons tells him where he will be incarcerated and when to turn himself in.

The specifics of Harris’ crimes are still somewhat of a mystery but he and his brother plead  guilty to conspiracy earlier in the year. Geraci said in court that the Rochester region shipments were 2 to 5 kilograms of cocaine monthly, plus up to 7 kilograms of heroin during the conspiracy.

Harris has said that he knew no one in the Rochester area and had never been to the city before his criminal charges.

Federal prosecutors have alleged that an August 2012 raid at two New York City homes revealed the scope of the trafficking conspiracy. Authorities seized safe deposit boxes connected to the drug ring. A total of $911,000 was found in the deposit boxes, and an additional $615,000 in cash was discovered in two homes.

Yandy, though saddened by the news suggested that the sentencing “brings closure.”

“Now we have a definitive number, we can move forward. I know there is an end,” she said.

We are all wishing Mendeecees, the best as he goes away to serve his time to society.



Source: VH1 celeb Mendeecees Harris sentenced in drug scheme

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8 thoughts on “Love and Hip Hop’s Mendeecees Harris Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison for Drug Trafficking”
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