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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nine Individuals Charged With Cocaine Trafficking

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

ROCHESTER, N.Y.—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Edward Mighty, Seymour Brown, Andre Taylor, Ricardo Bailey, Robert Wilson, Kenneth Harper, Desmond Bice, and Christopher, all of Rochester, NY, were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of cocaine base, use of a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking distribute marijuana. Defendants Mighty, Brown, Taylor, Wilson, Harper, Bice, and Samuels were also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. In addition, Winifredo Gonzales, of Brooklyn, NY was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The cocaine distribution conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a $10,000,000 fine. The possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking charge carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $250,000 fine. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, Edward Mighty is one of the leaders of a Rochester-based drug trafficking organization. Mighty obtained kilogram quantities of cocaine from Winifredo Gonzales in Brooklyn. The cocaine was transported to Rochester and processed, re-packaged, and distributed in various quantities of both powder and crack cocaine through multiple sellers in the Rochester area.

Mighty had individuals who worked for the drug trafficking organization utilize their cell phones to conduct the drug business including Andre Taylor, Seymour Brown, and Ricardo Bailey. Mighty’s organization supplied numerous upper and mid-level cocaine distributors, including Robert Wilson and Wilson’s partner Kenneth Harper.  Wilson further supplied, among other individuals, Desmond Bice. Christopher Samuels worked with Bice in further distributing the cocaine.

On February 10, 2015, officers executed a search warrant and arrested Winifredo Gonzales at a residence in Brooklyn. Officers recovered 17 kilograms of cocaine and two handguns, including an UZI 9mm pistol. Officers also seized approximately $70,000 in U.S. currency.

 On that same date, law enforcement officers monitored the transport of cocaine from Brooklyn to Rochester. Officers also monitored a vehicle as it traveled from Brooklyn to Rochester, the center of the Rochester drug distribution activities. The car arrived at 54 Strong Street where officers executed another search warrant. They also executed a search warrant at 319 Alphonso Street in Rochester.

Edward Mighty and Ricardo Bailey, who was the driver of the car, were taken into custody. A later search of the car recovered one kilogram of cocaine. Andre Taylor fled on foot running through the snow-covered backyards and was taken into custody a short distance away. Inside 54 Strong Street, officers recovered a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with 11 rounds of live ammunition, 13 rounds of live .357 caliber ammunition, Western Union receipts, multiple cell phones, drug distribution paraphernalia, and $3,941 in U.S. currency.   

Seymour Brown was arrested at his residence at 319 Alphonso Drive in Rochester. During the search of that location, officers seized multiple cell phones, a loaded .357 caliber handgun, and $3,147 in U.S. currency. Robert Wilson and Kenneth Harper were arrested at a residence at 418 Lyell Avenue.

Two more search warrants were executed at 295 Smith Street and 1702 Empire Boulevard in Rochester. During the searches, officers recovered 29 bags of crack cocaine, three handguns, dozens of rounds of ammunition, multiple cell phones including a radio frequency detector cell phone, drug distribution paraphernalia, over $10,000 in U.S. currency.

Desmond Bice was arrested at 35 Portland Parkway, Rochester at which time officers found 28 grams of crack cocaine, three handguns, dozens of rounds of ammunition, multiple cell phones drug distribution paraphernalia and $3,270 in U.S. currency.

Samuels was arrested at 75 Floverton Street in Rochester where officers found 73 grams of cocaine, marijuana, two handguns, a dozen rounds of ammunition, multiple cell phones, drug distribution paraphernalia, and $227 in U.S. currency.

The criminal complaint is the culmination of a joint federal and state wiretap investigation on the part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid, New York Field Division, and the Monroe County District Attorney's Office, under the direction of Sandra Doorley.

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.

Updated February 24, 2015