Three Defendants Charged Federally With Cocaine Conspiracy Following Seizure Of Over 30 Pounds Of Cocaine And More Than $664,000 In Cash
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Eric Young, 45, Chancellor Smith, 22, both of Huntsville, Alabama, and Lance Parker, 41, of Buffalo, NY, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, and to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that on July 20, 2018, deputies with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Bureau conducted a commercial vehicle inspection stop of a tractor trailer tandem with Alabama plates that was headed eastbound on Interstate 90 near the Angola Service Center. Defendant Young was driving the tractor trailer with defendant Smith as a passenger. After the deputies became suspicious, Smith was instructed to drive to the Angola Service Center for further inspection.
During the inspection, deputies noted multiple violations including vehicle equipment and a lack of knowledge by the driver pertaining to certain equipment operation. Deputies also noted an irregular placement of the cargo in the trailer. Following the inspection, a K-9 was brought in and gave a positive indication for a narcotic odor on the cargo in the trailer and in the sleeper birth area of the tractor. Following the execution of a search warrant, no controlled substances were located.
Law enforcement officers continued to conduct an active investigation, including surveillance of the tractor trailer, as well as defendants Young and Smith. On July 25, 2018, the tractor trailer was observed parked in a bank parking lot on Slade Avenue in West Seneca, NY. Officers observed the defendants exit the vehicle and a short time later a black Ford pick-up truck arrived and parked next to the tractor trailer. Defendant Parker exited the pick-up truck and removed a large black bag from the covered cargo bed and carried it to the driver's side of the tractor trailer. Parker than returned to the pick-up truck carrying a second black bag, placed it in the covered cargo bed, and departed the area.
The pick-up truck was subsequently stopped by deputies on Interstate 190 in Buffalo. During the execution of a search warrant, officers recovered 17 individually packaged pressed powder bricks of cocaine. Parker was arrested at the scene.
Defendants Young and Smith were detained at the site of the tractor trailer. During a search warrant of the tractor trailer at that time, officers found 52 shrink-wrapped and taped bundles of currency, predominantly in $10,000 bundles, inside the black bag. In total, the bag contained $519,580. In addition, officers also located a hidden compartment in the rear wall of the sleeper area of the tractor trailer cab where they found another $145,000. Young and Smith were arrested at the scene.
Noting that “the defendants had been originally charged in New York State Court by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office,” U.S. Attorney Kennedy further indicated, “District Attorney Flynn and I regularly discuss cases and where they can best be prosecuted. By working cooperatively, our offices are able to maximize the impact of the prosecutions that we bring.”
The defendants made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and are being detained.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.
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.