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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Buffalo Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Selling Drugs Which Resulted In Overdose Death

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Dontrell Wise, 32, of Buffalo, NY, who was convicted following a federal jury trial of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, butyryl fentanyl, fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine; possession with intent to distribute butyryl fentanyl; and distribution of fentanyl causing death, was sentenced to serve life in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that between mid-November of 2017 and November 23, 2017, the defendant distributed fentanyl which caused the death of a 28 year old female in Cheektowaga, NY. The evidence at trial established that Wise sold approximately 10 grams of a substance containing fentanyl which ultimately was injected by the woman, resulting in her overdose death. Hours later, the Cheektowaga Police Department responded to the scene to find the victim dead, and a wax envelope with fentanyl residue left behind.

Two weeks earlier, on November 9, 2017, the defendant was stopped by Buffalo Police officers in a rental vehicle with heavily tinted windows. Wise was found in possession of over $8,000 in cash, while a co-conspirator, Jerell Weathersby, had a quantity of butyryl fentanyl. The evidence further established that the defendant was a central member of a larger conspiracy crossing state lines, involving the distribution of narcotics in both Buffalo, NY, and Bradford, PA.             

Wise was arrested along with co-defendants Lemario Jones and Jerell Weathersby. Jones was convicted of distribution of a controlled substance and sentenced to 63 months in prison. Weathersby was convicted of possession with attempt to distribute butyryl fentanyl and sentenced to 21 months in prison. 

Today’s sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan; and the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David J. Zack.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Updated March 12, 2019