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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 20, 2015

Albion Man Arrested For Importing Synthetic Drugs

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:        (716) 843-5817
FAX:           (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Donald Stirk, 35, of Albion, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of a Schedule I controlled substance, conspiracy to import and importing a Schedule I controlled substance, and smuggling. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Pimentel, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on March 5, 2015, Customs and Border Protection officers in Memphis, Tennessee selected a package mailed from China to a “Donald Starks” in Albion, NY for routine inspection. The contents of the package were listed as “Betaine HCL,” a dietary supplement. Further inspection revealed the package actually contained Alpha-PVP, a Schedule I controlled substance.

The complaint further states that on March 13, 2015, law enforcement officers determined there was another package from China addressed to “Donald Starks” at the Albion Post Office. Further inspection revealed the package contained Alpha-PVP. As the investigation continued, law enforcement officers continued to identify more packages from China intended for the defendant.

On April 15, 2015, a search warrant was executed at Stirk’s residence on State Route 31 in Albion. According to the complaint, the defendant purchased the chemicals to help him with his mental illness. Stirk also sold the chemicals to another individual.

Following his arrest, the defendant made an initial appearance on April 17, 2015 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott and is being held pending a detention hearing on April 23, 2015.   

The complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge J. Michael Kennedy.

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.

Updated April 20, 2015