Seven Arrested in Drug Conspiracy in Buffalo and Niagara Falls

June 30, 2011 Updated Jun 30, 2011 at 6:36 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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June 30, 2011 Updated Jun 30, 2011 at 6:36 PM EDT

(BUFFALO, N.Y).-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that six individuals are under arrest and charged by Complaint with various drug charges including marijuana and cocaine trafficking.

Brandon Rickard, 29, Fredrick Crogan, Jr., 50, Jason Lewis, Robert Roy, 27, David Thomas, 52, and Micheal Kreps, 42, are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine and utilizing telephones in furtherance of narcotics trafficking. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine or both. Nelson Pacheco, 38, is charged in a separate Complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine and utilizing a telephone in furtherance of his cocaine trafficking. These charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 40 years, a $5,000,000 fine, or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Meetze, who is handling the case, stated that according to the Complaint, the defendants were part of a drug conspiracy that involved the trafficking of marijuana from the Akwesasne Indian Reservation into Niagara Falls and the trafficking of cocaine from Buffalo into Niagara Falls. During the arrests, law enforcement seized 17 firearms and more than $25,000 in cash along with suspected narcotics.

The defendants appeared today before Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott. Kreps, Lewis and Pacheco are being held without bail. Rickard, Crogan, Roy and Thomas were released on bond.

Today's arrests are part of a larger drug conspiracy. Harry Hinks, Charles Hinks II, William Nageotte, Ronald Carter and Dennis Berard were previously arrested on April 4, 2011. The defendants were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, marijuana and 500 grams or more of cocaine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 40 years, a $5,000,000 fine, or both.

Officials with Homeland Security Investigations say two other individuals were arrested in Massena, NY as part of Thursday's warrant execution.

The arrests are the culmination of an investigation on the part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Lev J. Kubiak, the Niagara Falls Police Department under the direction of Chief John Chella, the Niagara County Sheriff's department, under the direction of Sheriff James Votour and the Border Enforcement Security Task Force.

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.