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News Release
August 5, 2004

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Dismantles Major Drug Trafficking Organization Operating in Buffalo Area

United States Attorney Michael A. Battle, Western District of New York and Anthony P. Placido, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's New York Field Division announced today the unsealing of a 5 Count Indictment returned on July 29, 2004, charging eight individuals with various felony violations of the federal drug trafficking laws. Additionally, a related criminal complaint was also unsealed. It charges 33 individuals with various felony violations of the federal drug trafficking laws. The Indictment and Criminal Complaint represent the culmination of a nearly one and a half year long joint investigation into a large scale drug trafficking organization operating in and around Buffalo, New York. The cooperative investigation, conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, the Buffalo Police Department, the New York State Police, Erie County Sheriff’s Department, Niagara County Sheriff’s Department, the Niagara Falls Police Department, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development included numerous Court Orders authorizing the interception of both wire and electronic communications that occurred over a six month period of time. Additionally, 34 search warrants were authorized by U.S. Magistrate Judge Foschio for various targeted locations.

In announcing the Indictment and related complaint, U.S. Attorney Michael A. Battle stated:

“We in law enforcement have long recognized that we must work cooperatively to be successful in combating illegal narcotics organizations in our communities. We are now past the stage of talking about cooperation, and are at the stage of actually cooperating. These Indictments and the arrests today follow a year and-a-half-long joint investigation in which the investigating agents and officers from the local, state and federal law enforcement worked together each and every day, using all of their collective resources, including intelligence information, technical expertise, and manpower in investigating illegal narcotics trafficking.

We are sending a message to drug suppliers and distributors in Western New York that all of our resources are being joined collectively to identify you, investigate you and send you to jail for substantial sentences under the Federal drug laws. The Indictments and arrests today make clear that this is not a hollow threat.”

The Indictment, which contains 5 counts, charges RICHARD MULLEN, age 30, of Buffalo, New York,and New Jersey, with, among other things, operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 848. That charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a maximum possible penalty of life imprisonment, a fine of $2,000,000, or both. The seven other individuals named in the Indictment, are charged with, among other things, conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute, quantities of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. Based upon the quantities of cocaine involved, each individual named in the Indictment faces a minimum of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment and/or a $4,000,000 fine. MULLEN is charged in all counts of the Indictment. Those charged in the Indictment along with MULLEN include the following: FREDERICK NOLLEY age 30, Buffalo, New York; EFRIM RICHARDSON, age 33, Buffalo, New York; MICHAEL STRANC, age 34, of Buffalo, New York; ANDRE HALL, age 22, Niagara Falls, New York; DURRIAN PRESSLEY, age 31, Niagara Falls, New York; YOLANDA WINDLEY, a/k/a “Yolanda Coleman,” age 44, Niagara Falls, New York; LAWANDA D. EDMOND age 29, Niagara Falls, New York;

The other defendants charged in the criminal complaint are also charged with violations of Title 21, United States Code §§ 841(a)(1), 843(b) and 846 -- possession of quantities of cocaine with intent to distribute and use of a communication facility (a telephone) to commit drug felonies, carrying a minimum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a fine of $4 million, or both. The individuals charged in the Criminal Complaint are: EDWARD HEARST, a/k/a “Tone”, age 25 of Buffalo, New York; KEVIN WEEKS, age 40, Buffalo, New York; LARRY SANGER, age 25, Buffalo, New York; CARL MCMILLION, age 49, Buffalo, New York; DEMETRIUS PRITCHETT, age 33, Buffalo, New York; MAURE GRAHAM, age 27, Buffalo, New York; WILLIE MORRISON, age 27, Buffalo, New York; ROBERT ADAMS, age 21, Buffalo, New York; JOSEPH WILKIE, age 24, Buffalo, New York; JUSTIN PALMER, age 33, Buffalo, New York; JOHNNIE F. JACKSON, Jr., age 31, Buffalo, New York; DEBBIE DRAKE, age 28 of Niagara Falls, New York; TERRANCE ASKEW, age 28, Buffalo, New York; AMEER MCKNIGHT, age 31, Buffalo, New York; DOUGLAS MCPEEK a/k/a Jay Mcpeek, age 39, Buffalo, New York; KWAINE DAVIS, age 31, Buffalo, New York; KEVIN WILLIAMS, age 37, Buffalo, New York; DEANA PIRAINO, age 31, Buffalo, New York; MARVIN WEST, age 51, Buffalo, New York; ROSS COOPER, age 45, Buffalo, New York; JEROME DAVIS, age 27, Buffalo, New York; AYANNA NOLLEY, age 33, Buffalo, New York; TERRY MULLEN, age 41, Buffalo, New York; FREDERICK NOLLEY, Sr., a/k/a “Rick Rick,” age 66, Buffalo, New York; CHRISTINA TURNER, age 27, Buffalo, New York; ROBIN GILMORE, age 31, Buffalo, New York; TIFFIANI JACKSON, age 23, Buffalo, New York; RAMONA WATSON, age 35, Buffalo, New York; ERIC JOHNSON, age 27, Buffalo, New York; HOWARD DEGREE, age 33, Buffalo, New York; KENYA LEE, age 26, Buffalo, New York; ERIC AMIDON, age 43, Buffalo, New York; and JOSEPH HARGRAVE, age 61 of Seacaucus, New Jersey.

The investigation leading to the Complaint, which contains numerous allegations of unlawful use of the telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking activities, was aided significantly through the use of Court authorized interception orders which permitted agents to intercept both telephone calls, as well as the electronic pages sent and received by several of those charged in the Indictment. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Clare Kane, who is prosecuting the case, advised that the investigation revealed that the drug trafficking ring, obtained cocaine from areas outside of Western New York, primarily New York City, and was responsible for supplying significant quantities of cocaine to substantial drug traffickers working both in the Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York areas.

It should be noted that the fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime . . . is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. (Disciplinary Rule 7-107(B)(6)).

The Indictment was the culmination of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation on the part of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Mark Peterson, Special Agent in Charge, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Peter Ahearn, Special Agent in Charge, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Michael McManus, the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Patrick Gallivan, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Thomas Beilein, the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Rocco J. Diina, the Internal Revenue Service, under the direction of Ann Marie Coons, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Investigation Division, the Niagara Falls Police Department under the direction of Chief John R. Chella.

The evidence was presented to the Grand Jury by Mary Clare Kane, Assistant United States Attorney, who will handle the trial of the cases.

 

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