For Immediate Release
Rochester Man Pleads Guilty To Drug Charge
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Edward Mighty, 38, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years in prison, a maximum of life, a fine of $20,250,000 or both. The defendant will also forfeit over $3,000 in cash seized at 54 Strong Street in connection with the investigation.
“As we have said before, this Office stands ready to use federal tools and resources to assist local law enforcement when appropriate,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “The proven ability of our Office to eliminate an entire criminal organization, combined with the substantial sentences facing the members, are just two of the reasons for the public to embrace this approach.”
Mighty was arrested in February 2015 along with Seymour Brown, Andre Taylor a/k/a Stamma, Ricardo Bailey a/k/a Diji, Robert Wilson a/k/a Bose, and Kenneth Harper a/k/a Frenchy a/k/a Pudge, Desmond Bice a/k/a Dez, and Christopher Samuels a/k/a Cutty, all of Rochester. In addition, Winifredo Gonzales, of Brooklyn, NY, was charged by criminal complaint on February 11, 2015 with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that Mighty is one of the leaders of a Rochester-based drug trafficking organization. The defendant obtained kilogram quantities cocaine from Winifredo Gonzales in Brooklyn that were transported to Rochester. The powder cocaine was processed, re-packaged, and distributed in various quantities of both powder and crack cocaine through multiple sellers in the greater Rochester area. Mighty had several members of his drug trafficking organization utilize their cell phones to conduct the drug business. These individuals include Andre Taylor, Seymour Brown, and Ricardo Bailey. The defendant’s organization supplied numerous upper and mid-level cocaine distributors, including Robert Wilson and Wilson’s partner Kenneth Harper. Wilson further supplied, among other individuals, Desmond Bice. Christopher Samuels worked with Bice in further distributing the cocaine.
On February 10, 2015, law enforcement monitored a vehicle utilized by the organization to transport kilograms of cocaine from Brooklyn to Rochester. Shortly before 2:30 pm, surveillance officers observed the vehicle arrive at 126 New Jersey Avenue in Brooklyn and depart about 15 minutes later. As agents executed a search warrant and arrested Gonzales at 126 New Jersey Avenue, other agents monitored the vehicle as it traveled to Rochester. Inside the Brooklyn residence, law enforcement officers found 17 kilograms of cocaine in a hydraulic secret compartment behind a wall with two handguns, including an UZI 9mm pistol. Agents also seized approximately $70,000 in U.S. currency wrapped in black tape and plastic wrap from a safe.
The vehicle was monitored as it traveled from Brooklyn to 54 Strong Street in Rochester, the center of the Rochester drug distribution activities. The trap car arrived at 54 Strong Street shortly after 10:00 pm. A few minutes later, officers executed search warrants on 54 Strong Street, the trap car, and 319 Alphonso Street. At 54 Strong Street, Mighty was taken into custody along with Bailey, who was the driver of the trap car in which officers later found one kilogram of cocaine in a hydraulic compartment behind the front center vent. Andre Taylor fled on foot running through the snow-covered backyards, and was taken into custody in the vicinity of 93 Tyler Street, a short distance away. Inside 54 Strong Street, a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with 11 rounds of live ammunition, 13 rounds of live .357 caliber ammunition, Western Union receipts, multiple cell phones, drug distribution paraphernalia, and $3,941 in U.S. currency were seized.
Brown was arrested at his residence at 319 Alphonso Drive in Rochester. During the search of that location, officers seized multiple cell phones, a loaded .357 caliber handgun, and $3,147 in U.S. currency.
To date, four defendants have pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and firearms charges.
The plea is the culmination of a joint federal and state wiretap investigation on the part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid, New York Field Division, and the Monroe County District Attorney's Office, under the direction of Sandra Doorley.
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