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Justice News

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Two LRGP Members Plead Guilty To Rico Conspiracy

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Timothy Finch, 27, and John Hayward, also known as “Frizz,”33, both of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to RICO conspiracy. In addition, Hayward also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine. Finch faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Hayward faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life and a $10,000,000 fine. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas S. Duszkiewicz and Joel L. Violanti, who are handling the case, stated that between 2009 and January 23, 2012, Finch and Hayward were members of the LRGP gang which operates primarily in the area of Lombard, Rother, Gibson and Playter Streets in the City of Buffalo. It is alleged to be an organization engaged in violent criminal activity, including the distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine and the use of firearms.

In April 2011, the defendants and others, while at 318 Sobieski Street in Buffalo, agreed that a member of the Cold Springs Gang, a rival criminal organization, should be murdered in retaliation for the killing Alonzo Scott, in March 2011. Scott was the brother of LRGP leader Dewayne Gray. The individuals settled upon killing Amir Chambers, whom they believed to be associated with the Cold Springs Gang, and who had an ongoing social relationship with Alexis Mills.

After a failed attempt by Mills to poison Amir Chambers, it was agreed that Chambers would be killed by shooting him.  Mills was to use her relationship with Chambers to get the victim to open his residence door.  On April 20, 2011, Finch and others went to a residence at 111 Mills Street in Buffalo where they dropped off co-defendants Fred Keys and Alexis Mills. Chambers opened the residence door upon seeing Alexis Mills at which time Keys allegedly killed Chambers by shooting him in the head. Mills, for her part, kicked the victim in the head following the shooting to ensure that Chambers was in fact deceased. 

John Hayward was convicted of distributing crack cocaine in the Buffalo area. 

Alexis Mills was convicted previously and is awaiting sentencing. Fred Keys is scheduled to go to trial on June 14, 2016 along with do-defendant Philip Brown. 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.

The pleas are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen, the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid, New York Field Office and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.

Timothy Finch will be sentenced on September 15, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.; John Hayward will be sentenced on September 19, 2016 at 12:30 p.m., both before Judge Arcara.

Updated June 3, 2016