Buffalo Drug Distribution Ring Taken Down
AUG 18 -- (BUFFALO, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA") and WILLIAM HOCHUL JR., U.S. Attorney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of New York announced today that early this morning, 17 people across Western New York were arrested and charged with a wide variety of federal narcotics trafficking offenses. The arrests were based upon a federal indictment charging them with unlawful trafficking of cocaine, cocaine base (crack), heroin, ecstasy, marijuana and prescription drugs. The charges carry a minimum term of five years in prison, a maximum penalty of forty years in prison, a fine of $2,000,000 or both.
“‘OPERATION UNDER THE RADAR’ targeted a drug distribution organization that was responsible for trafficking illicit drugs from Texas to the Buffalo area in order to distribute to our communities. The individuals arrested thought they were operating under the radar of federal, state and local law enforcement while conducting their illegal enterprise. However, through coordinated targeting and information sharing, we identified, investigated and dismantled this drug trafficking organization," said John P. Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division as he praised the diligent effort of all the agencies involved.
The following individuals are charged with unlawfully distributing cocaine, cocaine base, marijuana, and oxycodone, Schedule II controlled substances, heroin and Ecstasy, Schedule I controlled substances and hydrocodone, a Schedule II controlled substance: Antonio Briggs, a/k/a "Gumps", 38, of Buffalo, Eric Williams, 31, of Lockport, Damien Ard, 29, of Lockport, Alfonzo Maye, a/k/a "Fonzo", 38, of Lockport, Torano Spencer, 34, of Lockport, Bobby N. Spencer, 56, of Lockport, John A. Cruz, 23, of Buffalo, David Klotzbach, 30, of North Tonawanda, Mark Robertson, 38, Justin McTigue, a/k/a "Diddy", 26, of Lockport, Allen Ainsworth, 28, James Dolly, 45, Ryan Eick, 27, Jan M. Jerge, 24, Jeffrey Sidebottom, 30, Michael Valery, a/k/a "Red", 34 and Daniel White, 38.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary C. Baumgarten, who is handling the case, stated that the charges stem from a long-term investigation into the trafficking of cocaine from Texas to the Buffalo area. The investigation also uncovered the widespread unlawful sale of cocaine and crack in the Cities of Buffalo and Lockport, as well as other parts of Erie and Niagara Counties. In addition to facing powder and crack cocaine trafficking charges, Damien Ard is charged with managing a number of individuals including Justin McTigue, Ryan Eick and Jan Jerge in distributing Ecstasy , prescription pills , heroin, and marijuana.
"Illegal narcotics trafficking has no place on the streets of Buffalo, Lockport or any other community in Western New York. My office will continue to fight this scourge vigorously, and together with our partners from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, will bring to justice anyone involved in this illicit trade," said U.S. Attorney Hochul.
The Indictment was the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents and Task Force Officers of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of John P. Gilbride, in conjunction with many local and state authorities such as the Niagara County Sheriff's Department, under the direction of Sheriff James Voutour, the Niagara County Drug Task Force, under the direction of Chief Mark Dreiss, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, under the direction of Chief George Gast, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.
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.