DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of New York

For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 21, 2017
James P. Kennedy, Jr.
, United States Attorney
Contact: Barbara Burns

Elmira Man Sentenced for Threatening Witness

ROCHESTER, N.Y.- Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Isaiah L. McLaurin, 28, of Elmira, NY, who was convicted of witness tampering, was sentenced to 57 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who is handling the case, stated that on May 17, 2017, the defendant made threats against an individual that he believed was cooperating in a drug investigation in the Elmira area.  Such threats were made with the intent to prevent that individual from testifying and providing information to law enforcement authorities about the drug trafficking organization.  
 
On May 16, 2017, four individuals, Robert Ian Thatcher, Maximillian Sams, Dwayne Banks, and Carlito Rios, Jr., were arrested by the DEA, ATF, Elmira Police Department, and other state law enforcement agencies and charged in a federal criminal complaint with various drug trafficking and firearms offenses including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, quantities of furanyl fentanyl, a Schedule I controlled substance, and U-47700, a Schedule I controlled substance.  The charges alleged that such conduct occurred between November 29, 2016, and May 16, 2017.
 
On May 16, 2017, an article about the arrests and investigation was published on the website for the Star Gazette, the local paper in Elmira. The article was entitled, “Four face federal charges in Elmira drug investigation.” A digital copy of the complaint and supporting affidavit was also published on the website with the article. In the supporting affidavit, the DEA referenced certain confidential sources by anonymous designations (including “CC-1” and “CS-2”).
 
On or about May 17, 2017, a member of law enforcement observed a series of public Facebook comments related to the investigation described in the article on a Facebook page bearing the user name “Isaiah Mclaurin” and a profile picture of Isaiah L. McLaurin. The posts consisted of the following:
 
Isaiah Mclaurin
Facts somebody better have this N**** in protective custody cause if he thinks he can just pick his daughter up from school and everything’s gonna be ok.  He got it coming
In those Facebook posts, McLaurin publicly identified the individual – referred to as Individual A – that he believed to be one of the confidential sources referenced in the complaint against Thatcher, Sams, Banks, and Rios, and threatened both Individual A and Individual A’s child.
 
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division; the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Richard Allen; the Elmira Police Department, under the direction of Chief Joseph Kane; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan Benedict, New York Field Division; and the Pennsylvania State Police, under the direction of Commissioner Colonel Tyree C. Blocker.
 
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Field Division: New York Field Division