Suspected Gang Member Arrested, Charged With Being A Felon In Possession Of A Firearm After Leading Police On A Chase
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Sydney Johnson, 28, of Buffalo, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremiah E. Lenihan, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, in August 2019, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force initiated an investigation into members of the Fruit Belt Posse (FBP). The FBI learned that members and associates of the FBP are actively engaged in the distribution of narcotics, firearms offenses, and gang activity. On February 26, 2021, task force members and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) Police Department were conducting surveillance on the defendant, a suspected member of the FBP. Investigators observed Johnson, whose driver’s license is currently suspended, driving a rental vehicle in the City of Buffalo. NFTA marked patrol units initiated a traffic stop on the defendant’s vehicle, but Johnson attempted to elude police officers. As officers pursued the vehicle, one officer observed a firearm being thrown from the passenger side of Johnson’s vehicle. In addition, dash cam footage from the patrol vehicle captured the firearm being thrown from the vehicle. Officers retrieved the loaded firearm from the side of the road. Johnson continued to flee and was later observed exiting the vehicle on foot and running. NFTA officers took the defendant into custody after a foot chase.
In October 2020, Johnson was convicted of Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in New York State Court and as a result is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.
The defendant made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and was detained pending trial.
The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police Department, under the direction of Chief George Gast; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood; and the Jamestown Police Department, under the direction of Chief Timothy Jackson.
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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