Home Buffalo Press Releases 2010 Three Men, Including Two Business Owners, Indicted on Drug Charges
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Three Men, Including Two Business Owners, Indicted on Drug Charges

U.S. Attorney’s Office January 14, 2010
  • Western District of New York (716) 843-5700

BUFFALO, NY—A federal grand jury in Buffalo has returned a six-count indictment charging Wesley Albert, 28, of North Tonawanda; Stephen Catone, 41, of Wheatfield; and Joseph Tomasino, 45, of Tonawanda, with conspiracy to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine in addition to the crime of maintaining drug-involved premises, announced U.S. Attorney Kathleen M. Mehltretter of the Western District of New York. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, a fine of $4,000,000, or both. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of two of the business properties involved in the conspiracy: J.T. Wheatfield's bar and restaurant, 6935 Ward Road in Wheatfield; and Papa Joe's bar and restaurant, 2546 Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield. The grand jury also charged Wesley Albert with growing marijuana at properties in Niagara and Erie Counties. This charge carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. McCabe stated that the Indictment charges that the defendants were involved in a large scale drug-trafficking organization in parts of Niagara and northern Erie Counties. This organization involved the distribution of significant amounts of cocaine and marijuana beginning in 2005. Defendant Wesley Albert was a distributor within this organization and supplied cocaine to defendant Stephen Catone, owner of Papa Joe's bar and restaurant. Catone then stored and sold cocaine out of Papa Joe's and permitted others, including Albert, to do the same in 2009. Defendant Joseph Tomasino was part owner of J.T. Wheatfield's bar and restaurant, and he also purchased cocaine from members of the Northtowns drug-trafficking organization. In addition, Tomasino permitted distributors to sell cocaine out of his bar in 2009.

The Indictment was the culmination of an investigation on the part of members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's ("FBI") Safe Streets Task Force, Niagara County Drug Task Force and Niagara Falls Police Department, and the Amherst Police Department. The evidence was presented to the Grand Jury by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. McCabe, who will handle the trial of the case.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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