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Press Release

Lackawanna Man Pleads Guilty To Drug Charge

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.-Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Ramzi Shairi, 39, of Lackawanna, NY, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years and a $5,000,000 fine. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul C. Parisi, who is handling the case, stated that between August 2012 and May 2013, the defendant conspired with others to distribute marijuana. During that time, Shairi, or another person at Shairi’s direction, rented vehicles in Western New York which were driven with large amounts of United States currency packed in the trunk to Denver, Colorado. In Denver, the money would be exchanged for quantities of marijuana, usually 50 or more pounds wrapped in one-pound vacuum-sealed bags which were placed in the vehicles to be driven back to Western New York. The marijuana would then be stored at a local apartment until the defendant, or others at the defendant’s direction, sold it.

On the morning of May 26, 2013, a gray Volkswagen bearing Illinois plates and a white Ford Fusion bearing New Jersey plates were travelling in tandem westbound on I-80, near Lincoln, Nebraska. A Nebraska state trooper conducted a traffic stop on the Volkswagen. A search of the trunk revealed three gift-wrapped packages containing $155,675 in U.S. currency. Meanwhile, the defendant, who was traveling in the Ford Fusion, continued driving. Vehicle rental records showed that an associate of the defendant rented the Ford Fusion on May 24, 2013, in Rochester, NY and turned it in on the evening of May 27, 2013, in Birmingham, Alabama.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division with assistance provided by the Nebraska State Police. 

Sentencing is scheduled for February 6, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. before Judge Vilardo. 


Updated October 23, 2017