Two Buffalo Men Indicted On Fentanyl Charges
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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Buffalo, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Jerell Weathersby, 21, and Dontrell Wise, 31, both of Buffalo, NY, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing butyryl fentanyl, a Schedule I controlled substance. The charge carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who handled the case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, on November 09, 2017, at approximately 11:40 p.m., two Buffalo Police officers stopped a rental vehicle in the area of Erb Street after detecting the smell of marijuana as the vehicle passed. Officers also noticed the rental vehicle appeared to have aftermarket window tint in violation of New York State vehicle and traffic law. Dontrell Wise was the driver and Jerell Weathersby was a passenger.
During a pat down of Weathersby, officers found a clear bag of what was believed to be powdered cocaine in his pant pocket. Weathersby stated to officers that it was morphine, which he was taking for a toothache. Forensic testing determined that the substance was actually butyryl fentanyl. Weathersby, who also had two phones and approximately $1,000 in cash, was arrested at the scene.
During a pat down of Wise, officers recovered approximately $6,000 in cash which Wise stated was from working in a restaurant. According to Wise’s Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole Agent, the defendant works in a warehouse in Erie, Pennsylvania, and is not allowed into New York State without parole approval. On December 14, 2017, Wise told the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole office that he was not in Buffalo on November 9, 2017, and that someone used his name without his knowledge.
On November 11, 2017, in the area of West Ferry Avenue, Wise and Weathersby were again stopped by the same two officers but in a different rental vehicle. Once again, the officers detected a strong odor of marijuana. Both men were ordered out of the vehicle. The officers observed two large bulges in Wise’s front pant pockets which the defendant responded was approximately $11,000 in cash. Following a pat down, officers confirmed that the bulges were large bundles of cash.
The defendants are being held pending arraignment on January 25, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Acting Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.