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Justice News

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

Two Buffalo Men Charged with Setting a Buffalo Business on Fire


   BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Ryan Smolinski, 26, and Lowell Carey, 53, both of Buffalo N.Y., were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with maliciously damaging or destroying, or attempting to damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building used in interstate commerce, unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm, and conspiracy to commit any offense against the United States. The charges carry a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward H. White, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on June 13, 2014, the Buffalo Fire Department responded to a call at 349 Ontario St., occupied by WNY Property Contractors. A fire occurred during the night and caused $5000.00 in damage. Investigators determined that the fire had been caused by two Molotov cocktails.

The complaint further stated that surveillance video shows one individual lighting and placing a bottle underneath a garage door on the side of the building and another individual throwing another lit bottle on top of the roof of the building. Those individuals were identified as Ryan Smolinski and Lowell Carey.   

The defendants made an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy. Smolinski was released on conditions. Carey is being held pending a detention hearing on June 24, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Cannon, and the Buffalo Fire Department, under the direction of Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.  

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.
Updated November 24, 2014