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Press Release

Flushing, NY, man arrested charged with possession and importation of MDMA

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Yong Chen, 37, of Flushing, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute MDMA and importation of MDMA. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis A. Testani, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, in the early morning hours of September 21, 2022, U.S. Border Patrol Buffalo Sector spotted a drone launch originating at a residence in Youngstown, NY. The drone traveled across the Lower Niagara River into Ontario, Canada, and landed in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, before returning a short time later to its original launch location. Law enforcement responded to the residence and observed the drone hovering in the back yard with an attached package hanging from the chassis. The drone made landfall near an individual later identified as Edvin Yug. Another individual at the residence fled from law enforcement. The package was transported to the Niagara Falls Border Patrol Station for analysis, and found to contain three vacuum sealed bags of MDMA. A short time later, Yong Chen was found by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department when a 911 call came in for an individual requesting medical attention for shortness of breath. Chen was identified as the individual that fled from the Youngstown residence.

A search warrant was executed at the residence, which was barely furnished, with only mattresses on the floor and almost no other furniture. The residence also contained few comfort items and no clothing to suggest individuals were using it as a primary residence. During the search, investigators seized numerous commercial grade drones, controllers, electronics, cell phones and a video hard drive containing the residence’s security camera footage, which showed Chen at the residence around the time the drone was spotted. Additionally, rolls of paracord were found on that were consistent to the cord holding the package of MDMA to the drone.

An analysis of the seized drones recovered data indicating that they had conducted five cross-border flights into Canada and back prior to September 21, 2022, all originating and concluding at the Youngstown residence. Chen’s flight records also coincide with the dates of the cross-border drone activity. Chen is not known to have any ties to the Buffalo/Youngstown area. According to the complaint, the Youngstown residence was purchased by a business owned by Chen’s sister.

The complaint is a result of an investigation U.S. Border Patrol, Buffalo Sector, under the direction of Chief Patrol Agent Thomas G. Martin, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Scarpino, and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Michael Filicetti.  

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Barbara Burns


Updated May 17, 2024

Drug Trafficking