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Old 01-07-2020, 09:06 AM
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Default Black Husband of top aide to Speaker Carl Heastie hit with coke trafficking charges

https://nypost.com/2020/01/06/husban...cking-charges/

Husband of top aide to Speaker Carl Heastie hit with coke trafficking charges
By Andrew Denney and Carl Campanile
January 6, 2020 | 3:27pm | Updated


Orlando Dennis leaves Brooklyn Federal Court after his arraignment. Rashid Umar Abbasi


The husband of a top aide to state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was busted at JFK airport Monday on cocaine trafficking charges, officials said.

Orlando Dennis, a 31-year-old truck driver from the Bronx, is accused of conspiring with two baggage handlers at the airport to smuggle three kilos of the drug from a dealer in the Caribbean island of Jamaica, according to federal court papers.

Dennis is married to Heastie’s chief of staff, Jevonni Brooks-Dennis, and was with her at the airport when he was busted by federal agents. The pair had just returned from a trip to Jamaica, sources said.

The smuggling scheme began unraveling last June when the Department of Homeland Security discovered an unclaimed roller bag at a carousel in customs that had come from Jamaica and contained $100,000 in coke, court documents allege.

One of Dennis’ alleged co-conspirators, Swissport cargo airport employee Ryan Smalling, failed to notice the bag because he was yapping on his phone when it arrived , according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators saw Smalling on surveillance footage then scouring bags in the belt room before leaving empty-handed, court documents show.

The feds arrested Smalling and another Swissport cargo airport baggage handler, William Brown, in August. They pleaded guilty to drug importation charges and are out on bail awaiting sentencing.

An inspection of their phone records eventually pointed to Dennis, who was in contact with a drug dealer in Jamaica — identified in the complaint as “co-conspirator 2” — as well as Smalling, the feds allege.

The criminal complaint added that Dennis “threatened” Smalling after the dealer falsely told him that Smalling had the drugs.

During Monday’s arraignment, US Attorney Jonathan Siegel provided a text message of Smalling allegedly telling Dennis, “You can threaten to kill me all you want, I don’t have the drugs.”

Under questioning from agents, Dennis admitted that he knew co-conspirator 2 in Jamaica was a cocaine and weed trafficker and sent money to him on the day the luggage arrived at JFK, the complaint said.

Dennis also admitted to federal agents that Brown told him he sent a bag to the US from Jamaica at that time and he knew the luggage “was involved in some kind of illegality” — but denied knowing that it contained drugs, the complaint said.

Dennis pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn federal court Monday evening and was released on $150,000 bond.

He is subject to GPS location monitoring, cell phone monitoring and a curfew.

Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom warned Dennis against breaking the law while he’s out on bail.

“You have to understand that your wife has a very accomplished job. Unfortunately for her this is going to have ramifications for her career,” she said.

His wife, who made $138,482 last year, declined comment.

Heastie’s office referred questions to Dennis Brooks’ lawyer, Calvin Scholar, who said Brooks-Dennis had nothing to do with the case.
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