Three Individuals Indicted On Various Drug, Gun And Sex Trafficking Charges
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 a federal grand jury has indicted Valentino Shine, Sr., 49, of Buffalo, NY, on charges of narcotics conspiracy, using and maintaining a drug-involved premises, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and commercial sex trafficking. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years and a $1,000,000 fine. In addition, co-defendant Jesse Lewis, 46, is charged with narcotics conspiracy, using and maintaining a drug-involved premises, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, being a felon possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which is punishable by a mandatory minimum five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a $1,000,000 fine. Also, Brittany Wieand, 25, of Buffalo, is charged with commercial sex trafficking, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Trini E. Ross and Patricia Astorga, who are handling the case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, during the execution of a search warrant at Shine’s residence, law enforcement officers recovered crack cocaine and other drug paraphernalia. It is also alleged that Shine and Wieand ran a sex trafficking operation out of their Humboldt Parkway residence. The defendant provided or withheld drugs to coerce the victims to engage in commercial sex acts.
On September 30, 2016, a search warrant was executed at the residence of Jesse Lewis on North Ogden Street in Buffalo. Officers recovered cocaine, other drug paraphernalia, and a firearm. Subsequently, on October 31, 2016, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police officers pulled over a car being driven by Lewis with Shine in the passenger seat. Officers recovered multiple bags of cocaine packaged for sale. In addition, Lewis and Shine each had $1,000 in cash.
Shine, Wieand, and Lewis are all being detained.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan Benedict.
The fact that defendants have been charged with crimes are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.