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Justice News

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

Monday, May 11, 2015

Schuele Boys Gang Associate Pleads Guilty To Drug Charge

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE:  (716) 843-5817
FAX #:                 (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. — U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that James Hicks, 45, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Burgasser, who is handling the case, stated that as an associate of the Schuele Boys Gang, the defendant purchased cocaine from co-defendant Michael Robertson. Hicks then repackaged the cocaine into smaller amounts for re-sale in the Buffalo area.

The Schuele Boys Gang, which operated in the Schuele Street area of the East Side of Buffalo, is believed to be responsible for multiple acts of violence and the distribution of illegal narcotics including cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana.

Hicks was arrested along with 15 other Schuele Boys Gang members and associates in July 2014. He is the third to be convicted. On March 24, 2015, an additional seven members and associates were indicted.  Four other Schuele Boys members were indicted separately.   Aaron Glenn and Demario Robbins pleaded guilty on March 26 and March 27, 2015 respectively.

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.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force which includes representatives of the Amherst Police Department; the Buffalo Police Department; U.S. Border Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Cheektowaga Police Department; the Erie County Sheriff’s Department; the Hamburg Police Department; the Lancaster Police Department; the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police; the New York State Department of Correctional Services; the New York State Police; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. Additional assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the United States Marshal Service, the Lackawanna Police Department, and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department.
While Tonawanda Coke has largely resolved the Clean Water Act violations identified in the complaint, under the settlement, Tonawanda Coke’s facility will be subject to an independent, third-party audit of its Clean Water Act compliance and will be required to implement all necessary recommendations for improving facility operations.  EPA’s oversight of the facility’s Clean Water Act compliance will be ongoing.
Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, Tonawanda Coke failed to report that it manufactured benzene and ammonia in quantities that exceeded the 25,000 pound per year reporting threshold.  Companies that manufacture, process, import or otherwise use chemicals above a certain amount must annually submit chemical inventory information to local authorities and to the state, giving detailed information about the chemicals they have on location.  Tonawanda Coke has agreed to submit several years’ worth of information about its use and emissions of ammonia and benzene under this law.
The proposed consent decree was filed in federal court in the Western District of New York and will be subject to a 30 day public commenting period following its publication in the federal registry.  The consent decree can be viewed at http://www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html
For more information about EPA’s actions at Tonawanda Coke and related legal documents, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02
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Updated August 20, 2015