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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Two Indicted In Investigation Involving Smuggling Heroin Into Attica Correctional Facility; Two Others Facing Heroin Charges

     BUFFALO, N.Y.—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Elizabeth Camue Martinez, 33, of Buffalo, N.Y., and her husband, Andres Martinez, 28, an inmate at the Attica Correctional Facility, with possession with intent to distribute, and to distribute, heroin and marijuana. Jerome J. Tallington, 25, of Buffalo, N.Y., has also been indicted and charged with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin. Davon Banks, 35, of Buffalo, N.Y., is charged in a complaint with possession with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing Fentanyl and prohibited person in possession of a firearm. All charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

“This past June, we warned of the potentially lethal consequences of heroin and fentanyl,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “As demonstrated by the recent fatalities in Western New York and elsewhere, that message went unheeded. Let today’s developments be fully understood. Whether rich or poor, suburban resident or prison inmate, no one is immune from the effects of this addiction.  As for the traffickers, because delivery of these substances is akin to handing a person a loaded gun, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”   

According to state documents filed in Wyoming County, on December 5, 2013, Elizabeth Camue Martinez smuggled heroin into the Attica Correctional Facility to give to her husband, Andres Martinez, an inmate at the facility. On December 8, 2013, defendant Jerome Tallington sold approximately three grams of heroin to a New York State Police investigator.    

According to the complaint charging Davon Banks, on January 14, 2014, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the defendant’s residence at 359 Sherman Street in Buffalo. Officers seized approximately 163 plastic bags containing a powdery substance, a 12 gauge shotgun, and a digital scale. Subsequent analysis on the powdery substance determined that it contained Fentanyl. The complaint further states that Banks was subject to a protective order preventing him from possessing a firearm.   

Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, “Heroin overdose rates have increased 45% nationwide. The spread of heroin abuse has even reached a place we put drug dealers for their crimes – jail. Numerous heroin overdose deaths have been attributed to heroin laced with fentanyl throughout the northeast and in this case, the victim was given pure fentanyl which led to lethal consequences. Every time you use an illicit drug it’s a life or death risk. The DEA, the Western District of New York, and the Wyoming County District Attorney’s Office have investigated these deaths which resulted in the arrests of Andres Martinez, Elizabeth Camue-Martinez and Jerome Tallington for their role in this conspiracy.” 

Troop A Commander, Major Michael J. Cerretto said, "Heroin addiction destroys lives. The number of overdose deaths that law enforcement agencies investigate is just staggering.  I am very pleased that the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team was able to be a part of this very important investigation."

NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci said, "Illegal drugs are a danger to our communities and our prisons. I applaud the teamwork that brought about these arrests, and I am proud that DOCCS staff played a role in taking these people and their drugs off the streets."

The indictment and complaint are the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Office, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Michael Cerretto, the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), under the direction of Major Wayne C. Olson, the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard, the Wyoming Country District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Donald O’Geen, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Frank Sedita, and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, under the direction of Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci. 

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.