Former Syracuse Receiver Marcus Sales Charged in Federal Drug Indictment

Former Syracuse University football wide receiver Marcus Sales was arrested along with 14 others today as part of a federal drug bust.

Sales, 29, was charged with conspiracy to possess more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute. He is facing up to 40 years in prison, a prosecutor said in court.

Sales, who lives in DeWitt, has been arrested before. In 2011, he and his older brother Michael were charged with having drugs after a traffic stop in Syracuse.

The elder Sales accepted responsibility for the drugs in the vehicle and the charges against Marcus Sales were dropped.

The charges nearly cost the starting wide receiver his final football season with the team. He missed the season after his arrest, but played the following year as a fifth-year senior. He went on to play for the Atlanta Falcons.

Sales grew up in the Syracuse area and graduated from Christian Brothers Academy. He was remanded to jail with the charges pending.

Police arrested Sales as part of a major drug bust in Onondaga County. Fifteen people were arraigned on January 9th before U.S. District Court Magistrate Andrew Baxter. According to court papers, the group conspired to sell cocaine, crack, and the opiate fentanyl.

The courtroom on the third floor of the federal building was packed with supporters, lawyers and investigators throughout the afternoon Wednesday. Family members cried as Sales and others were brought before the judge. Two supporters sitting behind Sales spoke with him briefly after he pleaded not guilty. He was brought in and out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

Marcus Sales
Official 2008 football photo of Marcus Sales  Syracuse University

Each defendant is facing at least up to 20 years in prison. Many could face more time for additional charges or prior felony convictions.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not hold a press conference or send out a news release with the ages and addresses of the suspects, as is typical in these cases. The office is only performing “essential” duties during the federal government shutdown. Officials also did not release mugshots of the suspects.

Court papers provided some details about the drug investigation. The group used a home at 134 Coolidge Ave. in Syracuse to distribute drugs, according to the indictment.

The following defendants were charged as part of today’s bust:

  • Daitwaun Fair (conspiracy to possess more than 500 grams of cocaine and crack with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, maintaining drug-involved premises)
  • Robert Payne (conspiracy to possess more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute)
  • Margaret Bowman (conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, maintaining drug-involved premises)
  • Troy Jackson (conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute)
  • Brian McAlpine (conspiracy to possess cocaine and crack with intent to distribute, possession of crack and fentanyl with intent to distribute)
  • James Zupan (conspiracy to possess cocaine and crack with intent to distribute)
  • Marrell Edwards (conspiracy to possess more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute)
  • Theodore Fowler (conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute)
  • Qualik Vaughn (conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute)
  • Timothy Bowman (conspiracy to possess more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute)
  • Roosevelt Knight (conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute)
  • Michael Starkey (conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to possess more than 28 grams of crack, possession with intent to distribute more than 28 grams of crack)
  • Kenyatta Scott (conspiracy to possess more than 28 grams of crack with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute more than 28 grams of crack)
  • Rebecca Johnson (conspiracy to possess more than 28 grams of crack with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute more than 28 grams of crack)

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