BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a 24-count indictment charging six defendants with narcotics conspiracy, a conspiracy that ultimately led to the deaths of three individuals, and the burning of their bodies. Named in the indictment are:
• Jariel Cobb, a/k/a Doobie, a/k/a Black, 47, of Buffalo, NY;
• James Reed, a/k/a Fatts, 38, of Buffalo, NY;
• Jahaan McDuffie; a/k/a Wanka, 29, of Buffalo, NY;
• Destenee Bell, a/k/a K, 27, of Cheektowaga, NY;
• Deandre Wilson, a/k/a D, 49, of Buffalo, NY; and
• Deshema Clark, 42, of Buffalo, NY.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brendan T. Cullinane and Michael J. Adler, who are handling the case, stated that according to the indictment, between 2014 and September 25, 2019, the defendants are accused of conspiring to sell cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and fentanyl in the Buffalo area. In furtherance of this conspiracy, defendants Jariel Cobb, James Reed, and Destenee Bell are accused of maintaining a drug involved premises by utilizing residences at 211 Box Avenue and 973 Fillmore Avenue in Buffalo, to facilitate their drug trafficking activities. Defendants Wilson and Deshema Clark are accused of utilizing 164 Parkridge Avenue, also in Buffalo, for drug trafficking activities. Defendant Jahaan McDuffie is charged with distributing significant quantities of marijuana and heroin.
The indictment further states that between September 15 and 16, 2019, defendants Cobb and Wilson committed murder while engaged in a narcotics conspiracy and Hobbs Act conspiracy. Cobb and Wilson allegedly murdered Miguel Anthony Valentin-Colon, Nicole Marie Merced-Plaud, and Dhamyl Roman-Audiffred and stole from them certain personal property, including cocaine, cellular telephones, and a white Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
Following the murders, Cobb, Wilson, and defendant Reed are accused of obstruction of justice for burning the bodies of Valentin-Colon and Merced-Plaud, and mutilating and burning the body of Roman-Audiffred. Cobb and Wilson are also accused of conspiracy to damage and destroy a vehicle used in interstate commerce by fire, and damaging and destroying a vehicle used in interstate commerce by fire. Defendant Reed is charged with being an accessory after the fact for assisting Cobb and Wilson.
“The Department of Justice has a capital case review process which culminates in a decision by the Attorney General regarding whether to seek, or not to seek, the death penalty against a particular defendant,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “That process is underway in this case as it pertains to defendants Jariel Cobb and Deandre Wilson.”
“For the families of Miguel, Nicole, and Dhamyl, we hope that the charges announced today will ease some of your suffering,” said Stephen Belongia, Special Agent- in-Charge of the FBI’s Buffalo Office. “And to gang members and other violent criminals, if you choose to live a life fueled by greed and violence, you should know that the FBI and our law enforcement partners stand ready to do everything in our power to ensure you are held accountable for your crimes. While we can’t bring back Miguel, Nicole, and Dhamyl, we hope it brings the families some bit of peace to know that the Western New York law enforcement community came together and threw everything we had at this investigation.”
The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of currency and firearms which resulted from the drug trafficking activities of the defendants, including $16,900 in cash, two 9mm handguns, and 22 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood; the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard; the Erie County Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory, under the direction of Commissioner James Jancewicz. Additional assistance was provided by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney John Flynn.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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