Major drug trafficking arrest in Buffalo

Posted at 8:33 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 20:33:43-05

Three Buffalo men are now facing charges after nearly $9 million dollars worth of drugs were found in one man's car.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., 67-year-old James Wilkie, 47-year-old Remus Nowak, and 51-year-old Fernando Rodriguez were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribute over five kilograms or more of cocaine.

“Though we may be over 2,000 miles away from the Mexican Border, this case illustrates that the threat associated by the illegal flow of controlled substances over that border is very real even here in Western New York,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. “The misery associated with the lives harmed by drugs flowing across the Southwest Border extends across the entire United States. We will remain vigilant in our effort to stem that flow at every point along away.”

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt stated, “Coordination was the key element throughout this two-day enforcement operation. The objective to identify those responsible for trying to bring nine million dollars’ worth of drugs into Buffalo was met, resulting in 48 kilograms of cocaine being taken off the streets.”

Prosecutors say DEA agents identified Wilkie, Nowak and Rodriguez as members of a large scale cocaine distribution organization, with direct connections to Mexico.

Officials say that Wilkie picked up several kilograms of cocaine in Arizona and transported it to Buffalo. Wilkie would then give the cocaine to Nowak, who, in turn, would provide it to Rodriguez, for distribution throughout the area.

According to prosecutors, in February, Wilkie was stopped by the Illinois State Police for driving with an obstructed license plate. A search of the vehicle then revealed that it contained 48 kilograms of cocaine. Thirty kilograms were contained in a suitcase, while 18 kilograms were discovered in a duffel bag. Wilkie was then arrested. An investigation revealed that the 18 kilograms were destined for Buffalo, while the remaining 30 kilograms were destined for Chicago.

Prosecutors say a controlled delivery of  “sham” cocaine was made by Wilkie to Nowak at a local hotel. As Nowak left the motel, he was arrested by DEA agents. Arrangements were later made for Nowak to deliver the cocaine to Rodriguez at an automotive shop on Kenmore Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda. Rodriguez was then arrested.

The men were arraigned Friday afternoon and are being detained pending a hearing on February 28. If convicted, they could face up to life in prison.