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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of New York
Carla B. Freedman, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, December 1, 2023

Clayton Man Pleads Guilty to Drug and Firearms Crimes

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Adam Cook, 33, of Clayton, pled guilty yesterday to possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in connection with a federal drug trafficking crime and manufacturing and transferring illegal “ghost gun” rifles, announced U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman, John B. DeVito, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Kristyna Mills, Jefferson County District Attorney.

As part of his guilty plea yesterday, Cook admitted that he possessed 285 grams of cocaine for distribution that was recovered during a search warrant executed at his Clayton residence in September 2020. He also admitted that he possessed a 12-gauge shotgun in connection with his drug trafficking crime. In pleading guilty, Cook also admitted to manufacturing and transferring illegally short-barreled unregistered .223 caliber “ghost guns.” The guilty pleas stemmed from an investigation conducted by the Metro-Jefferson Drug Task Force and ATF into drug and firearms trafficking in the Watertown area. 

Sentencing is scheduled April 2, 2024, in Syracuse, at which time Adam Cook faces up to 20-years in prison for his conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, a mandatory consecutive sentence of at least five years and up to life imprisonment for his conviction for possession of a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking crime, and up to 10-years imprisonment for making and transferring unregistered illegally short-barreled .223 caliber “ghost gun” rifles. He will also be sentenced to a term of at least three years of post-incarceration supervised release and may also be sentenced to fines of up to $1 million dollars. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

The case was investigated by the ATF and the Metro-Jefferson Drug Task Force, consisting of Special Agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Detectives from the City of Watertown Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Investigators from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and U.S. Border Patrol Agents. Assistance was also provided by the City of Watertown Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the Village of Clayton Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Southwick.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.


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