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NEW YORK NEWS

March 12, 2015
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: 212-337-2906

Four Charged with Trafficking Heroin and Heroin Laced with Fentanyl

MAR 12 (BUFFALO, N.Y.) - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. and Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division announced that John Haak, 33, of Evans, NY, and Francis Tessina, 43, of Buffalo, NY, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with distribution of heroin and conspiracy to distribute heroin. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimentel, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on February 28, 2015, law enforcement officers investigated the apparent heroin overdose of a man in Hamburg, NY. During the investigation, officers discovered a cellular telephone that belonged to the deceased individual. Text messages exchanged between the man and defendant Haak revealed that the man had received heroin from Haak shortly before his body was discovered.

Further investigation revealed that Haak delivered bags of heroin, purchased from defendant Tessina, to the deceased man late in the afternoon of February 28, 2015. The defendant also sent text messages to the man warning him to be careful with the heroin because Haak believed it contained fentanyl. The complaint also charges Tessina alone of selling heroin on March 9, 2015.

The defendants made an initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy. Defendant Haak was released on conditions and is due back in court on March 20, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. Defendant Tessina is being held pending a detention hearing on March 16, 2015 at 11:30 a.m.
           
The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Division, the Hamburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Williams, and the Evan Police Department, under the direction of Chief Ernest Masullo.

In a separate case, a federal grand jury has indicted Trent Adair Hamilton, 33, of Lockport, NY, and Michael Paul Mitchell, 33, of Niagara Falls, NY, on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin. Hamilton is also charged with possession with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin. Mitchell is facing an additional charge of possession with intent to distribute and to distribute crack cocaine. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5,000,000 fine.

Hamilton and Mitchell were arraigned on March 10, 2015 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy. The defendants are being held pending a detention hearing on March 13, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.

The indictment is the result of an investigation on the part of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff James Voutour, the Lockport Police Department, under the direction of Chief Larry Eggert, the Niagara Falls Police Department, under the direction of Chief Bryan DalPorto, the North Tonawanda Police Department, under the direction Chief Randy Szukala, the New York State Police, under the direction of  Major Michael Cerretto, and the New York State Attorney General’s Office, under the direction of Eric Schneiderman. 

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.


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