Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge

November 08, 2018

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-3900

Federal jury convicts Buffalo man of drug distribution resulting in overdose death

NEW YORK U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. and DEA New York Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Keith Kruskall announced today that a federal jury has convicted Dontrell Wise, 32, of Buffalo, N.Y., of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, butyryl fentanyl, fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine; possession with intent to distribute butyryl fentanyl; and distribution of fentanyl causing death. As a result of Wise’s criminal history, the “death results” charge carries with it a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael J. Adler and Brendan T. Cullinane, who handled the prosecution of the case at trial, stated that between mid-November of 2017 and Nov. 23, 2017, the defendant distributed fentanyl which caused the death of a 28 year old female in Cheektowaga, N.Y. The evidence at trial established that Wise sold approximately 10 grams of a substance containing fentanyl which ultimately was injected by the woman, resulting in her overdose death. Hours later, the Cheektowaga Police Department responded to the scene to find the victim dead, and a wax envelope with fentanyl residue left behind.

Two weeks earlier, on Nov. 9, 2017, the defendant was stopped by Buffalo Police officers in a rental vehicle with heavily tinted windows. Wise was found in possession of over $8,000 in cash, while a co-conspirator, Jerell Weathersby, had a quantity of butyryl fentanyl. The evidence further established that the defendant was a central member of a larger conspiracy crossing state lines, involving the distribution of narcotics in both Buffalo, N.Y., and Bradford, Pa.             

Wise was arrested along with co-defendants Lemario Jones and Jerell Weathersby. Jones was convicted of distribution of a controlled substance and is awaiting sentencing. Weathersby was convicted of possession with attempt to distribute butyryl fentanyl and sentenced to 21 months in prison. 

Today’s verdict is the result of an investigation by the DEA Buffalo Resident Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force, the Buffalo Police Department, and the Cheektowaga Police Department.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. who presided over the trial of the case.

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