former erie county sheriff's deputy pleads guilty to gun charge
Buffalo, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Thomas J. Blajszczak, 43, of Lancaster, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara, to unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi, who handled the case, stated that the defendant was intercepted in November and December of 2009, pursuant to a court-authorized wiretap, communicating with an a cocaine supplier named Jose De Leon. De Leon was previously convicted of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. The conversations between the defendant and De Leon, his cocaine supplier, established that Blajszczak was receiving cocaine for his personal use while employed by the Erie County Sheriff’s Department. At that time, the defendant owned and was in possession of a Glock, Model No. 23, .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
During an interview with the FBI, the defendant admitted that part of a monetary debt referenced during some of the intercepted telephone conversations related to money owed by the defendant to his cocaine supplier for powder cocaine. Blajszczak further admitted that he provided at least one box of 9mm ammunition, and one box of .45 caliber ammunition, to Jose De Leon.
Blajszczak’s plea is part of an FBI investigation which resulted in the arrest of a group of individuals between December 2009 and February 2010, who were involved in trafficking kilograms of cocaine from sources in Puerto Rico, and in New Jersey, and re-distributing the cocaine to drug dealers and users in Buffalo New York. The defendant is the 27th person convicted in the investigation.
"In our efforts to rid this area of narcotics trafficking organizations, this office will follow the evidence to wherever it takes us and will prosecute accordingly," said U.S. Attorney Hochul.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian P. Boetig, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Michael Cerretto, and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard.Sentencing is scheduled for April 14, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Arcara.