Investigation leads to two arrests on the Seneca Allegany Indian Reservation
BUFFALO — U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced Monday that as part of an enforcement operation focused on and around the Seneca Allegany Indian Reservation, two defendants have been charged with narcotics conspiracy in two separate cases.
In the first case, Brandon Blackshear, 35, of Olean, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, crack cocaine and fentanyl. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The defendant made initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroder and is being held pending a detention hearing on July 19.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on Jan. 2, members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force made a controlled purchase of crack cocaine from the defendant and a co-conspirator. On Jan. 22, the task force made a second controlled purchase of crack cocaine as well as heroin from Blackshear and a co-conspirator.
In the second case, Christopher T. Dupont, 32, of Salamanca, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, butyryl fentanyl. That charge also carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
AUSA Violanti stated that according to the complaint against Dupont, since July of 2018, the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force has been conducting an investigation into the distribution of heroin in and around Salamanca. That investigation identified the defendant as a distributor of heroin in and around Salamanca. During the course of the investigation, investigators conducted controlled purchases of butyryl fentanyl from Dupont on July 11 and Aug. 29, 2018.
On Aug. 30, 2018, investigators executed a state search warrant at the defendant’s Elm Street residence. During execution of the search warrant, officers observed several items dropped out of a window of the residence, including several small clear baggies with a powdery substance (suspected butyryl fentanyl) and several pills, an empty cigarette pack, and a small scale. Dupont was subsequently arrested on state charges.
Dupont also made an initial appearance before Judge Schroeder. A detention hearing is scheduled for July 16.
“This Office takes seriously our federal trust responsibility and obligation to pursue justice in Indian Country and to work diligently to increase public safety and the quality of lives in tribal communities,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “These arrests make clear our commitment to work in order to improve the quality of life for all native residents in those communities.”
The complaints are the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, under the direction of Jason Thompson, Associate Director of the Office of Justice Services; the Southern Regional Drug Task Force, under the direction of Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Ronald Lott; the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division; and the Salamanca Police Department, under the direction of Chief Troy Westfall.
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.