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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Two Defendants In Gun Conspiracy That Brought More Than 100 Illegal Guns To The Streets Of Buffalo

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

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that following a three week trial, a federal jury has convicted Titus Thompson, Jr., 35, of Buffalo, NY, and Deonte Cooper 25, of Ashtabula, Ohio, of conspiracy to traffic firearms from Ohio to Buffalo. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Thompson was also convicted of unlawful dealing in firearms, being a felon in possession of firearms, and maintaining a drug involved premises. Those charges carry an additional penalty of up to 35 years in federal prison. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emmanuel O. Ulubiyo and Charles J. Volkert, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that during the course of the conspiracy, Deonte Cooper, who also sold heroin, recruited heroin customers to make straw purchases of more than 100 firearms. The purchases were made at gun shows and gun stores in Ohio. The firearms were then transported to Buffalo, where they were sold to local drug dealers, including Titus Thompson.

On May 18, 2018, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives, and the Buffalo Police Department executed a search warrant at 89 Parkridge Avenue in Buffalo in the upper and lower apartments which were utilized by Titus Thompson. During the search, agents recovered a .40 caliber pistol and a 9mm pistol in the upper apartment as well as several firearms in the lower apartment. Thompson has two previous felony convictions, and was legally prohibited from possessing firearms.

Another six defendants were also charged and previously convicted in this case.

“These defendants evaded our Nation’s laws so that they could profit by providing drug dealers with one of the most sought after tools of their trade—illegal guns,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “These are the guns that are used to wreak so much havoc and violence in our community. When we disrupt the flow of illegal guns, drug dealers suffer and our community benefits.”

The verdict is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito, New York Field Division and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 23, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford who presided over the trial.

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Updated March 13, 2020

Firearms Offenses