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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 16, 2016

Two Men Arrested, Charged In Cocaine 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 Clarence Adams, 34, of Buffalo, NY, and Michael Knight, 27, of California, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine. The charges carry a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison, a maximum of life and a $10,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on May 13, 2016, law enforcement officers seized three packages containing suspected cocaine that were shipped from Texas to Buffalo. The cocaine was hidden inside air purifiers. Officers seized two of the packages before they were delivered and set up controlled deliveries to addresses on Tyler and Custer Streets in Buffalo.

Before the controlled deliveries occurred, officers observed the defendants in a car parked near Main and Custer Streets. Adams was observed using multiple cellular telephones. Adams was also observed entering 36 Custer Street, leaving shortly after, and departing in the Black Mazda 6 he had been driving. 

Around that time, the first package was delivered to a residence at 49 Tyler Street where the resident of that address accepted and signed for the package. The defendants arrived at 49 Tyler Street shortly after in the black Mazda 6. The recipient of the package exited her residence with the package, walked over to the black Mazda 6 and placed the package in the trunk.  At that time, law enforcement officers arrested Adams and Knight. 

The second package was delivered to the residence at 36 Custer Street.  Ultimately, search warrants were executed and the package that had been delivered was found in the upstairs apartment.  A third package was found in the downstairs apartment.  Like the other packages, it also contained cocaine hidden in an air purifier. 

According to the complaint, the three packages contained a total of five kilograms of cocaine and the recipients indicated they had been paid in crack cocaine to receive the packages.

During a subsequent search of a Mount Vernon Street residence where the defendants were staying, officers recovered a drug ledger that calculated the amount necessary to purchase 5 kilograms of cocaine from Adams’s bedroom.  Also recovered were a digital scale and other drug preparation materials.

The defendants made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and are being held pending a detention hearing on May 19, 2016.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police, under the direction of Chief George Gast, and the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack. 

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 May 17, 2016