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Press Release

Former Buffalo Public School Teacher Going To Prison For Selling Marijuana And Possessing Firearms In Furtherance Of His Drug Trafficking Activities

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 Trini E. Ross announced today that Michael Masecchia, 57, of Williamsville, NY, who was convicted of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes, was sentenced to serve 84 months in prison by U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph M. Tripi and Brendan T. Cullinane, who handled the case, stated that since at least 1999 through his arrest on August 23, 2019, Masecchia was involved in the sale of marijuana in the Buffalo and its surrounding suburbs. Masecchia and others also participated in marijuana grow operations in Ellicottville and Franklinville, in Cattaraugus County, NY. The marijuana grown at those operations was harvested and distributed to resellers and users. In addition, the defendant possessed firearms to protect himself, his proceeds, and property where he stored marijuana and currency.

As part of his plea agreement, Masecchia admitted that he received sensitive law enforcement information from his co-defendant Joseph Bongiovanni, who worked as a Special Agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration in Buffalo. The information included the names of potential cooperators and whether or not Masecchia and others were under federal investigation, and such information helped Masecchia and others to continue selling marijuana undetected by other members of law enforcement.

On August 23, 2019, a search warrant was executed at the Masecchia’s Main Street residence and seized $27,950.00 in U.S. currency; Two rifles, five shotguns, and a pistol; ammunition; marijuana and suspected cocaine; steroids; hypodermic needles; THC edibles; cannabis syrup; drug paraphernalia; and four cell phones.

Charges remain pending against co-defendant Joseph Bongiovanni.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Scarpino; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the Erie County Sheriff's Office, under the direction of Sheriff John Garcia; the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, under the direction of Sheriff Michael Filicetti; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of John B. Devito.

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Updated May 4, 2022

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses