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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 21, 2022

Two Defendants Plead Guilty For Their Roles In A Narcotics Conspiracy Which Resulted In A Triple Homicide

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Jariel Cobb a/k/a Doobie a/k/a Black, 49, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to narcotics conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct justice, use of fire to commit a felony, and conspiracy to damage and destroy a vehicle used in interstate commerce by fire. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $20,000,000 fine. Co-defendant James Reed, 39, of Buffalo, also pleaded guilty to narcotics conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and use of fire to commit a felony, as well as accessory after the fact, which carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $20,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan T. Cullinane, who is handling the case, stated that beginning in 2014, Cobb, Reed, and others, began receiving and selling marijuana, heroin and cocaine. Cobb, Reed, and their co-conspirators utilized 973 Fillmore Avenue to store, package, and sell the illegal narcotics. In furtherance of the narcotics conspiracy, on September 15, 2019, Cobb arranged a purchase of a kilogram of cocaine from Miguel Anthony Valentin-Colon and Dhamyl Roman-Audiffred, who served as Cobb’s sources of supply. Valentin-Colon, along with his wife. Nicole Marie Merced-Plaud, their minor son, and Roman-Audiffred, arrived in their vehicle, a white minivan, at a residence on Roebling Avenue, as directed by Cobb. Roman-Audiffred exited the van and entered the residence’s kitchen, at which time a co-defendant her in the head with a blunt object and she fell to the floor. The co-defendant then went outside and shot and killed both Valentin-Colon and Merced Plaud, in the presence of their minor son, who was seated in a child’s car seat. The co-defendant then drove the minivan and parked it on Scajaquada Street near Kilhoffer Street in Buffalo.

A short time later, Cobb and Reed moved the body of Dhamyl Roman-Audiffred from the kitchen into the residence’s basement, where they dismembered her body. Cobb placed the body parts into multiple trash bags and placed them into the trunk of his vehicle, and then drove to a residence on Box Avenue, removed the trash bags, and placed them into a burning fire in a fire pit area in the backyard.

The following day, during the early morning hours of September 16, 2019, Cobb and another co-defendant retrieved the minivan from Scajaquada Street, with the bodies of Miguel Valentin-Colon and Nicole Marie Merced-Plaud still inside, as well as their minor son. Cobb and the co-defendant drove the minivan into the yard of a residence on Tonawanda Street and doused the vehicle and the bodies with gasoline, lighting the vehicle and bodies on fire. They took the minor child and left him on a stranger’s porch on Potomac Avenue in Buffalo.

In addition, co-defendant Deshema Clark pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of marijuana and faces up to one year in prison.

The pleas are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia; the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John Garcia; the Erie County Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory, under the direction of Commissioner James Jancewicz. Additional assistance was provided by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney John Flynn.

Sentencings will be scheduled at a later date.

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Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Opioids
Drug Trafficking
Updated July 21, 2022