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Justice News

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

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Buffalo/Jamaican Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty To Bribery Of Postal Carrier

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

BUFFALO, N.Y.- Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Rudolph Dwight Hanchard, 39, a Jamaican national living in Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official and attempt to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wei Xiang, who is handling the case, stated that Hanchard received mail parcels from California and Arizona that contained marijuana for sale in Buffalo. Among his associates was then-postal carrier Briana Fugate who ensured the delivery of the defendant’s packages. In addition to receiving his own parcels containing marijuana, Hanchard paid Fugate for more marijuana worth approximately $30,000. Fugate stole the marijuana from other mail parcels that were part of her delivery route. This arrangement spanned August to October 2015.

Fugate was convicted for accepting bribes to help deliver shipments of illegal drugs, distribution of marijuana, and delay of mail.
The plea is the result of an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in Charge Adam S. Cohen; the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Shelly Binkowski; and the United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Monica Weyler, Eastern Area Field Office, Philadelphia, PA.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 5, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Vilardo.

Updated March 3, 2017