January 09, 2020
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Deli employee arrested for selling controlled substances near two Hamburg schools
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration New York Division Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, and U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., today announced that Mohammed Alawi, 52, of Lackawanna, N.Y., was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, a controlled substance, and distribution of a controlled substance in or near schools. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $2,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeremiah E. Lenihan and Michael J. Adler, who are handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, in September 2019, the Hamburg Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating the defendant after he was identified as selling hydrocodone, a Schedule II Controlled Substance, from inside Bayview Deli on Bayview Road in Hamburg. The deli is across the street from Big Tree Elementary School and Frontier Central High School.
It is alleged, that on Oct. 3 and Nov. 6, 2019, the DEA conducted two controlled purchases of hydrocodone from Alawi. According to the New York State Bureau of Controlled Substances, the defendant has filled several prescriptions issued by his doctor for hydrocodone.
Alawi has a previous federal felony conviction. In 2016, the defendant was convicted of misbranding food held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce with intent to mislead.
“Our cases take us all over the world, but sometimes the most important ones are in our backyard,” said DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan. “As a result of today’s arrest, we have reinforced student safety and significantly increased the quality of life in the town of Hamburg. I applaud the law enforcement collaboration throughout this investigation.”
“To pedal opioids within a stone’s throw of our most precious commodity—our children—is particularly egregious,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “While our kids belong in school, greedy drug dealers, who disregard the safety of our kids and fail to respect the sanctity of our schools, belong in jail.”
The defendant made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and was released on conditions.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Hamburg Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Buffalo Resident Office.
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.