ROCHESTER, N.Y.--( release) U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Donald G. Vanelli II, 47, of LeRoy, New York, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, a fine of $4,000,000, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who handled the case, stated that the charges stemmed from a joint federal, state and local investigation, which revealed that the defendant was responsible for obtaining between five and 15 kilograms of methamphetamine from drug suppliers and distributing those drugs to others in the Genesee County and Monroe County areas between 2004 and July 2010. The investigation also revealed that Vanelli possessed firearms, including a loaded 9mm rifle, at his residence and other locations. As part of the plea agreement, the defendant agreed to forfeit to the government a 9mm rifle, a 9mm magazine and 78 rounds of 9mm ammunition that were seized from his LeRoy residence. During the investigation, law enforcement authorities seized approximately 75 grams of methamphetamine, three firearms, and more than $6,000 in cash.
Vanelli was arrested along with four others last July. He is the first defendant to be convicted.
The plea was the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special-Agent-In-Charge James H. Robertson, the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, under the direction of Sheriff Gary T. Maha, the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Dale M. Kasprzyk, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Matthew Renneman, the City of Batavia Police Department, under the direction of Chief Randy Baker, and the Village of LeRoy Police Department, under the direction of Chief Christopher K. Hayward.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 10, 2011, at 3:15 p.m. EST, in Rochester, N.Y., in front of Judge Siragusa.