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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Buffalo Man Sentenced In Cross Country Drug Conspiracy

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Gabriel Rodriguez, 40, of Buffalo, NY, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, was sentenced to serve 60 months in federal prison by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who handled the case, stated that between 2004 and July 12, 2012, the defendant conspired with others to distribute large quantities of marijuana in the Buffalo area.  In April 2009, codefendants Jordan Ali and Shane Grafman began assisting one another in their drug distribution businesses. The defendants obtained the narcotics in the State of Arizona, and then utilized several methods to send the marijuana and cocaine to the Buffalo area, including cars, trucks, shipping crates and United States Postal Service parcels. Grafman also utilized private jets to travel from Arizona to Buffalo to pick up his drug proceeds. During this time, Rodriguez obtained more than 2,000 pounds from Grafman and Ali for distribution in the Buffalo area.  

During the investigation, law enforcement officers seized approximately $1,000,000 in United States currency, including $671,385 from a hidden compartment within a Honda Ridgeline driven by Grafman.

A total of six defendants were arrested and convicted in this case. 

The sentencing is the culmination of investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Division; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James D. Robnett; the United States Postal Service Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector-in-Charge Delany E. De Leon-Colon; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood; the Erie County Sheriff's Department, under the direction of Sheriff Tim Howard; the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority, under the direction of Chief George Gast; the Tempe, Arizona Police Department; the Apache County, Arizona Sheriff's Department; and the Oklahoma State Police.

Updated June 22, 2018