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Press Release

Federal Escapee Sentenced for Drug Trafficking; Other Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Joseph Mitchell, 36, of Rochester, N.Y., who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of cocaine base, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, money laundering conspiracy and escape, was sentenced to 300 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr.

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Noto, who handled the case, stated that the Joseph Mitchell participated in a drug trafficking conspiracy along with his two younger brothers, Jamar and Jerrod Mitchell. According to the government’s investigation, between 2008 and March 2011, the defendant was responsible for the large scale distribution of significant quantities of cocaine and cocaine base in the Rochester and Elmira, N.Y. areas. Several search warrants executed at the time of the defendant’s arrest led to the recovery of over $500,000 in cash that had been secreted in a hidden trap in the base of a fish tank at Joseph Mitchell's residence, as well as a loaded handgun. 

            Joseph Mitchell was ordered detained pending trial on his narcotics charges.  Thereafter, Mitchell orchestrated an elaborate jail escape, which involved multiple individuals and the smuggling of contraband into the Monroe County Jail, including a cellular telephone and saw blades that were secreted inside the binding of a bible.  Mitchell utilized the saw blades to cut the jail bars on the window of his cell and ultimately escaped with another inmate, Eddie Palmer, by breaking the exterior window and jumping to the ground.

            Law enforcement captured Mitchell approximately one week after his escape in the area of Sodus, Wayne County. The individuals who assisted Mitchell in his escape were also arrested and convicted federally, including Eddie Palmer, Lakesia Binion, and Mathias Smith.

            In sentencing the defendant to 25 years in prison, Judge Geraci referred to Joseph Mitchell a "drug kingpin," who "poisoned the community" with large amounts cocaine.  Judge Geraci also admonished the defendant for involving his two younger siblings in his drug trafficking activities. Jerrod and Jamar Mitchell are schedule to be sentenced on July 2, 2013.  Palmer, who has been convicted of assisting in the escape, will be sentenced on July 9, 2013.

            The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell, New York Field Division, officers of the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief James Sheppard, the United States Marshals Service, under the direction  Marshal Charles Salina and investigators of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office under the direction of Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn.



Updated December 9, 2014