Two Illegal Gun, Heroin Traffickers Sentenced for Putting Hundreds of Guns into Buffalo Neighborhoods

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BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today Deonte Cooper 25, of Ashtabula, Ohio, who was convicted of conspiring to traffic firearms from Ohio to Buffalo following a three week jury trial, was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.

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Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles J. Volkert and Joshua A. Violanti, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that during the course of the conspiracy, Cooper, who also sold heroin, recruited heroin customers to make straw purchases of more than 100 firearms. The purchases were made at gun shows and gun stores in Ohio. The firearms were then transported to Buffalo, where they were sold to local drug dealers, including co-defendant Titus Thompson, who was also convicted at trial with Cooper.

Defendant Thompson is awaiting sentencing. Six other defendants were also charged and previously convicted in this case, including Koree Runyan. Runyan, 26, of Ashtabula, Ohio, was also sentenced today by Judge Wolford for her role in the conspiracy to time served and two years supervised release. Runyan purchased firearms in Ohio in her own name, which were then transported into the Buffalo area.

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The sentencings are the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito, New York Field Division, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood.

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