Buffalo Man Convicted of Drug Trafficking and Firearms Charges
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Harold Howard, 42, of Buffalo, N.Y., was convicted after a jury trial of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes, possession of firearms and ammunition while being a convicted felon, and unlawful possession of a machine gun. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melissa M. Marangola and George C. Burgasser, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that the defendant was arrested following a long term investigation by the Erie County Sheriff's Department. In November 2011, during the execution of a search warrant at 93 Elmer St. in Buffalo, law enforcement officers found three kilograms of cocaine and three loaded firearms in Howard's vehicle.
The Government presented evidence at trial that Howard transported cocaine between Atlanta, Georgia and Buffalo between 2008 and November 2011. In November 2008, the defendant was stopped in Atlanta with $104,000 and a loaded firearm. In November 2009, Howard was arrested by Buffalo Police after being stopped with cocaine and a loaded firearm. As a result, the defendant is currently serving a state sentence for possession of a firearm.
"This case is another example of the successful cooperation between our Office and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners," said U.S. Attorney Hochul. "The prosecution brings to an end the flow of illegal narcotics and illegal firearms into our community by this particular defendant."
The conviction is the result of an investigation on the part of the Erie County Sheriff's department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, and the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Christopher Cummings, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Frank Christiano, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell, New York Field Division.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 30, 2013 at 12:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.