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Former buffalo woman pleads guilty to drug charge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2014

     BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Jacquelyn Witman, 31, formerly of Buffalo, N.Y., now residing in the Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, marijuana, before Chief U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who is handling the case, stated that between 2010 and February 2011, the defendant conspired with others to distribute marijuana. On February 21, 2011, Witman attempted to board a flight at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to Arizona. During a security screening, screeners found $21,150 in U.S. currency, money the defendant admitted was the proceeds of marijuana sales. 

During the investigation, law enforcement officers seized approximately $1,000,000 in U.S. currency.

Other defendants charged in the case include Shane Grafman, of Phoenix, Arizona and Elijah Chaffino, of Tempe Arizona, who have been convicted and are awaiting sentencing. Charges are still pending against defendants Jordan Ali, formerly of Alden, N.Y, Jason Nati and Gabriel Rodriguez, both of Buffalo, N.Y. 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.

The plea is the culmination of investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of James J. Hunt, Acting Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero; Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Shantelle P. Kitchen, Acting Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Office; United States Postal Service Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector-in-Charge Shelly A. Binkowski; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda; Erie County Sheriff's Department, under the direction of Sheriff Tim Howard; Niagara Frontier Transit Authority, under the direction of Chief George Gast; Tempe, Arizona Police Department; Apache County, Arizona Sheriff's Department; and Oklahoma State Police.