BUFFALO — Three people arrested in last week’s raid on a Randolph apartment will officially face federal methamphetamine charges.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York on Tuesday charged the suspects — Mark R. Maio, 34, and Brittany L. Dellahoy, 28, both of East Randolph, and Brandon Smith, 32, of Jamestown — with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine, and maintaining a drug-involved premises.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The federal criminal complaint stems from the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force’s Jan. 23 search of Maio and Dellahoy’s apartment at 128 Main St., Randolph. The task force reportedly found more than a pound and a half of crystal meth packaged for sale, a street value of more than $75,000.
Capt. Shawn Gregory of the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office told the Olean Times Herald on Thursday the defendants were going to be federally prosecuted, adding it was one of the largest busts in the three-decade history of the task force.
It’s not the first time the U.S. Attorney’s Office has stepped in to federally prosecute local residents for meth. Thirteen people — 11 of whom were from Allegany County — were indicted by a federal grand jury in 2015 following a lengthy probe into meth manufacturing and distribution in Western New York. Most of them have since been convicted and sentenced.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti, who is handling this most recent meth case, said Tuesday the Jamestown Police Department Metro Drug Task Force had been investigating Maio and Smith for distributing meth in and around Jamestown since March 2018.
During the investigation, the task force allegedly conducted controlled purchases of narcotics from Maio. He and Smith have been arrested by Jamestown police on multiple occasions for selling and possessing meth, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Maio and Dellahoy were at the residence during the Jan. 23 search, while Smith allegedly attempted to leave but was detained. Officers reportedly found quantities of crystal meth and marijuana while searching Smith, and also recovered crack cocaine and a large amount of cash after searching Maio.
During the search of the apartment, officers recovered more marijuana and crystal meth, as well as a digital scale, other drug packaging and paraphernalia, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The search was by far the largest meth bust since Cattaraugus County has seen an increase in meth usage over the last year. Seventeen meth labs were found in the county through the first three quarters of 2018 after there were only 14 in all of 2017.
The city of Olean alone had 10 residences found to be housing a meth lab during 2018 and the last two months of 2017, after previously not having a meth lab discovery since 2014.
While authorities have described almost all the recent meth busts as small meth cooks meant for personal use, no meth-making materials were found at 128 Main St. Gregory said last that week the recovered crystal meth had been “purchased from an outside source.”
The three defendants were originally charged under state law by the sheriff’s office. Maio and Dellahoy were charged with first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class A-1 felony, while Smith was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, a class B felony.
All three made their initial appearance Tuesday afternoon in Buffalo before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder. They’re being held pending a detention hearing Friday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted the complaint is the result of the investigation by the Jamestown Police Department and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
(Contact reporter Tom Dinki at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @tomdinki)