Two Buffalo men plead guilty to drug conspiracy and money laundering
BUFFALO, N.Y.– U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that two defendants associated with the LRGP Gang pleaded guilty to federal charges before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. Franklin Richards, 31, of Buffalo, N.Y., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. The charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, a $10,000,000 fine or both. Wilfred Wylie, 32, also of Buffalo, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $500,000 fine or both.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Burgasser, who is handling the case, Franklin Richards supplied cocaine to the LRGP Gang which operates in the area of Lombard, Rother, Gibson and Playter Streets. Co-conspirator Wilfred Wylie was searched by security at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and found with $112,00 in U.S. currency, money he intended to take to Houston, Texas for the purchase of cocaine. As a condition of their plea agreements, the two defendants will forfeit $219,000 in U.S. currency.
“This is certainly an important step in the Office’s ongoing prosecution of the LRGP case,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Just two days ago, a federal grand jury handed up a superseding indictment naming the gang as a racketeering enterprise under federal law, and charging a total of 13 defendants with committing multiple acts of narcotics trafficking and violence as part of the enterprise’s and defendants’ activities. Today’s developments signify that this prosecution is moving forward at a rapid pace, while the investigation conducted by our law enforcement partners continues.”
The pleas are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota.
Sentencing for the defendants is scheduled for June 26, 2013 at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.