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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty To Selling Heroin And Fentanyl That Led To The Deaths Of Two People

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Aaron J. McDuffie, aka “G”, 23, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin and butyryl fentanyl causing death, and distribution of fentanyl, butyryl fentanyl, and furanyl fentanyl causing death before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $1,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wei Xiang, who handled the case, stated that on June 27, 2015, the defendant met with a repeat drug customer identified as “A.E,” a 24 year-old Cheektowaga man. McDuffie sold A.E. a quantity of powder that the defendant advertised as “fire,” a mixture that contained heroin and butyryl fentanyl. A.E. died as a result of using the drugs McDuffie provided to him.

On November 23, 2016, McDuffie met with another repeat drug customer identified as “D.M,” a 34 year-old West Seneca man, and sold him a quantity of powder that the defendant advertised once again as “fire.” This mixture contained fentanyl, butyryl fentanyl, and furanyl fentanyl. D.M. also died as a result of using the drugs McDuffie provided to him.

On November 30, 2016, law enforcement officers arrested McDuffie leaving his residence in Buffalo. The defendant was on his way to distribute a quantity of powder that contained fentanyl, butyryl fentanyl, and furanyl fentanyl. Under McDuffie’s’s living room couch, officers recovered a Hi-Point, .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun that was loaded with eight rounds of .40 caliber ammunition.

“With his plea, this defendant has admitted that the drugs he sold killed two people,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Under federal law, he is, therefore, legally responsible for their deaths. Any entrepreneur who is considering getting into the illicit drug trade must recognize that a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison represents a very significant cost of doing business. The reason the price is so steep is because the lives of all people in our community—even those who are broken and addicted—are valuable.  Hopefully, this plea will help to deliver that message.”

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt stated, “Opioid traffickers fill glassine bags branded with stamps to attract customers; in this case, the highly potent doses were branded with ‘Fire.’ Today’s plea is another step in the process of bringing justice to the family and friends of ‘A.E.’ and ‘D.M.’ who overdosed after using ‘Fire.’ DEA and our partners in law enforcement will continue to fight opioid distributors at all levels, from the street dealers to international traffickers.”

The plea is result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Division; Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack; and the West Seneca Police Department, under the direction of  Chief Daniel Denz.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 30, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. before Judge Vilardo.

Updated February 20, 2018