Guns seized as result of the operation.
BUFFALO, NY. -John P. Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury in Buffalo has returned a 35-count indictment charging twelve defendants, six of whom are members of the Buffalo Chapter of a national charitable organization known as the “Afro Dogs,” with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, maintaining a premises for the use and manufacture of cocaine, including the Afro Dogs’ Clubhouse, weapons charges and financial crimes.
“To wear a badge is an honor to the majority of law enforcement officers, however when the badge is worn in order to commit crimes it is a badge of shame,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride. “This investigation identified a drug trafficking organization that hid behind a false impression of doing ‘good’ when in actuality they were profiting from the sale of cocaine throughout the Buffalo area. Law enforcement united in order to identify, investigate and arrest those responsible and have them face the consequences of their actions.”
"Narcotics trafficking can destroy a community," said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul. "This Office, along with our law enforcement partners, are fully committed to investigating and prosecuting those who would harm our city, regardless of title or stature or membership in any particular organization. And to anyone who serves the public, let this stand as a warning that this Office, and the law enforcement community, will not tolerate anyone who abuses his or her position of trust."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Duszkiewicz, who is prosecuting the case, stated that the indictment accuses Dewey Taylor, 40, John Smith, 52, Ricky Allen, 54, Terrance Hall, 37, Johnnie Gibson, 46, William Szymanski, 49, Emanuel E. Bell, 47, Jeffery Achatz. 44, Dale Lockwood, 58, Anthony Burley, 44, Frank Owens, 53 and Van Miller, 51 all of Buffalo. The 12 are charged in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute quantities of cocaine. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison with a ten year mandatory minimum term and a fine of $4,000,000, or both.
The indictment further charges Smith with maintaining premises on Northland Ave. and at the Afro Dogs Clubhouse for purposes of the use and purpose of manufacturing and distributing cocaine. Smith and Allen are charged with maintaining a premises on Roosevelt Ave., again, for the use and purpose of manufacturing and distributing cocaine, which charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Smith is also charged in 17 counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine, each of which is a felony and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine, or both, along with possession of firearms in relation to his drug-trafficking, which carries a mandatory five year consecutive sentence to any other term imposed. Taylor is charged with ten counts of structuring financial transactions, each of which is a felony for which he can receive a maximum term of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or both.
The indictment includes forfeiture allegations for various properties, vehicles and bank accounts.
Smith and Allen are also charged by complaint with using a telephone to further their drug trafficking activities and utilizing information obtained by Allen in his position with the Buffalo Joint Commission to Examine Police Reorganization. These charges carry a cumulative penalty of up to 22 years in prison and a $1,250,000 fine.
The indictment and complaint are the culmination of an investigation on the part of DEA Special Agents, under the direction of John P. Gilbride, the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James H. Robertson, the New York State Police under the direction of Major Wayne Olson, the Buffalo Police Department under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda, the Amherst Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Askey, the Tonawanda Police Department under the direction of Chief Anthony Palombo, the Lockport Police Department under the direction of Chief Lawrence Eggert, and the Internal Revenue Service, under the direction Special Agent in Charge Charles Pine.
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.