Probationary buffalo police officer arrested, charged with drug charges
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that James Hamilton, Sr., 29, of Buffalo, N.Y., was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana; manufacturing and possession with intent to distribute 50 or more marijuana plants; maintaining a premises for the purpose of manufacturing and distributing marijuana; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The charges carry a minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum of life, a $2,000,000 fine or both.
“Those who take an oath to uphold the law are held to the highest stand of conduct and the vast majority of officers do just do that,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Whether experienced or new to their position, this office will not hesitate to act when it receives evidence of criminal wrongdoing involving an officer. Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement partners, this case was brought to its conclusion within 24 hours of it being brought to our attention.”
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell stated, "This officer’s actions have disgraced the men and women of law enforcement who work to keep our cities, states and nation safe. Just this week, the largest medical group in the United States issued a statement outlining the public health harms of marijuana, which is the illicit drug that Hamilton produced and sold out of his house for profit, fueling the marijuana supply and health dangers in the Buffalo area. When dirty cops tarnish the badge of those they have sworn to protect, their selfish acts disregard their pledge to protect the citizens of Buffalo." Special Agent in Charge Crowell commends the DEA Buffalo Resident Office, Buffalo Police Department, Erie County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office for their quick and effective joint investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on November 20, 2013, Hamilton, a probationary Buffalo Police Officer, sold two ¼ pound quantities of marijuana for $1,100 to a confidential source in the area of Bailey and Broadway in the City of Buffalo. The defendant was then called down to Buffalo Police Headquarters at which time he was arrested. Hamilton was found in possession of his department issued firearm at the time of his arrest.
Subsequently, a search warrant was executed at the defendant’s residence at 165 Floss Avenue in Buffalo. During the search, officers discovered a marijuana grow operation in the basement of Hamilton’s house which included 82 plants and approximately four pounds of harvested marijuana. In addition, officers recovered a shotgun in the defendant’s bedroom.
Hamilton is scheduled to make an initial appearance at 2:15 p.m. this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder.
The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation by the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard, the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.
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.