Mendeecees-Harris

*”Love & Hip Hop: New York” star Mendeecees Harris got a strong dose of reality Tuesday (Dec. 1) when he was sentenced to 97 months (8 years) for his part in a drug trafficking conspiracy.

According to authorities, the conspiracy was responsible for shipping large amounts of cocaine and heroin from downstate New York to the Rochester region.

Democrat & Chronicle reports that Harris’ wife, Yandy Smith, and 10-month old daughter were present in court as Harris apologized “for any trouble I have caused the city of Rochester” while referencing a fatherless childhood that included growing up in a tough neighborhood and an eventual descent into the drug trade.

Despite this, Harris cited his four children as his motivation for staying away from crime.

“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’ sentencing comes after he married Smith this year on a special live episode of “Love and Hip Hop New York.”

Nevertheless, Harris’ criminal struggles served as a prelude for eventually landing in prison as he pleaded guilty in April to the trafficking conspiracy and was freed on bail. During that time, Harris agreed to use the money he made from being on “LHHNY” and paid public appearances to pay the federal government. D&C notes that Harris has paid about $170,000 thus far.

In addition to paying the government, Harris has actively tried to turn his life around with regularly speaking to disadvantaged children and teens in New York City and along the East Coast.

At the sentencing, dozens of letters written by kids and young men from one program were presented that stated how Harris’ presentation about his life helped them decide to avoid going down a path 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.

By pleading guilty, Harris faced a penalty of up to 10 years under recommended sentencing guidelines. In the end, Geraci settled on giving Harris 97 months as he acknowledged how tough it was to reach his decision.

“This is a tough case, Mr. Harris, because of the fact you were transporting poison to this community,” Geraci said while noting Harris’ positive affect on young people with his talks, a practice that he says can be continued when he leaves prison.

D&C points out that Harris already served 15 months before he was released on bail. With good behavior, the reality show fixture could be looking at five to six years behind bars remaining on his sentence, which could be reduced in light of changes now underway in sentences for drug-connected crimes.

 

Regarding Harris, Geraci allowed him to remain free until the federal Bureau of Prisons tells him where he will be incarcerated and when to turn himself in. according to D&C.

Read/learn MORE about Harris’ case at Democrat & Chronicle.