Federal Jury Convicts Buffalo Man of Murder and Causing a Heroin Overdose that Led to a Death
BUFFALO, N.Y. –U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that following a four-week week trial, a federal jury has convicted Donte Walker, a/k/a Slim, 30, of Buffalo, NY, of multiple charges including murder while engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise and narcotics conspiracy, tampering with a witness, discharge of firearms causing death in furtherance of crimes of violence and drug trafficking crimes, conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in death, and several narcotics offenses. The charges carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison and a fine up to a $20,000,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Meghan E. Leydecker, Nicholas T. Cooper, and Seth T. Molisani, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that between 2012 and November 2018, Walker was a leader of a heroin and cocaine trafficking organization operating in the Buffalo area. Walker utilized various associates, including drug runners and lower-level drug dealers. At a peak in Walker’s heroin distribution enterprise in 2015 and 2016, he was responsible for the daily distribution of hundreds of grams of heroin, sometimes mixed with butyryl fentanyl or furanyl fentanyl. Over the years, Walker also regularly sold cocaine.
In 2013, as part of the ongoing narcotics conspiracy, Walker was responsible for the distribution of heroin to M.O., which resulted in M.O.’s death. In addition, on October 16, 2018, Walker lured Ryan Thurnherr to an area near the East Ferry Liquor Store in Buffalo under the auspices of engaging in a drug transaction. Shortly after shots were fired, and Thurnherr was found murdered in a vacant lot near the intersection of Winslow Avenue and Brooklyn Street. Walker believed Thurnherr was a witness or a threat to become a witness in the ongoing DEA investigation into the defendant’s drug-trafficking organization.
The verdict is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Buffalo District Office, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Tim Foley, New York Field Division; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia; the Tonawanda Police Department, under the direction of Chief James P. Stauffiger; the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief Brian Gould; and the Orchard Park Police Department, under the direction of Chief Patrick M. Fitzgerald.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 5, 2022, before U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. who presided over the trial of the case.