February 12, 2018
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
Former Niagara Falls Police Officer, Two Co-defendants Plead Guilty For Their Roles In Drug Conspiracy
BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. and Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), New York Division announced that Niagara Falls, NY, Police Officer Stephanie A. Costanzo, 29, pleaded guilty to managing a drug involved premises before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. In addition, co-defendants Raymond Hopson and Lindsay Carrier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 28 grams or more of crack cocaine which is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years and a fine of $5,000,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that between July 28, 2016, and November 8, 2016, Raymond Hopson made several sales of crack cocaine to an (UC) officer posing as a drug customer. During that time, Hopson was living with Stephanie Costanzo, at her residence on Grand Avenue in Niagara Falls. Hopson would store some of his cocaine, along with paraphernalia used to weigh and distribute the cocaine, at the residence.
On November 9, 2016, Special Agents from the Drug Enforcement (DEA), along with the Niagara Falls Police Department executed a search warrant at Costanzo’s residence. Agents and officers recovered approximately 5.6 grams of cocaine, a digital scale used for weighing and distributing the cocaine, and drug paraphernalia used to package and distribute the cocaine. Although she did not participate in the distribution of the controlled substances, Costanzo was aware that Hopson stored his cocaine and paraphernalia at her residence.
Lindsay Carrier conspired with Raymond Hopson to distribute crack cocaine. On five occasions between July 28, 2016, and November 8, 2016, Hopson obtained crack cocaine from Carrier and then sold it to an undercover officer. A search warrant executed at the Willow Avenue residence of Carrier’s mother, resulted in the seizure of quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine.
The pleas are the result of an investigation by the DEA-Buffalo Resident Office and the Niagara Falls Police department.
Costanzo is scheduled to be sentenced on May 30, 2018, at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara. Hopson and Carrier are scheduled to be sentenced on May 29, 2018, at 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. respectively, also before Judge Arcara.