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Justice News

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Three Individuals Plead Guilty To Drug, Money Laundering And Gun Charges

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Anthony Avery and Spiwe Barnes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine before U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. The charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life and a 10,000,000 fine. Avery also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and Barnes pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. In addition, co-defendant Linda Johnson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, cocaine. That charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.  

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy C. Lynch and Joel L. Violanti, who are handling the case, stated that beginning in early 2010 and continuing through June 14 2011, the defendants distributed between five and 15 kilograms of cocaine in the Buffalo area.  Avery and Barnes initially obtain cocaine from a source in Ohio. This source utilized Linda Johnson to transport the cocaine to Avery in Buffalo. Later on, Avery and Barnes obtained cocaine from Tyree Bishop, who was obtaining the cocaine in Detroit, Michigan. On the date of their arrest, law enforcement officers seized a loaded 9mm handgun as well as $5,000 in cash from Barnes’s residence.

Tyree Bishop was also convicted and sentenced to 96 months in prison.

The pleas are the culmination of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division, the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda, and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard. Assistance was also provided by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Frank Sedita.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 16, 2015, 2:00 p.m. before Judge Skretny.

Updated November 28, 2014