BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced that 13 men and women have been charged with operating a meth ring in Wellsville.
The 13 defendants were charged with with conspiracy to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute and to distribute, methamphetamine. The charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10,000,000 fine.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that between January 2011 and late 2014, the defendants engaged in the practice of “smurfing” (buying small quantities) pseudo ephedrine, the most important chemical in manufacturing meth, in order to bypass restrictions of purchasing ephedrine at local pharmacies.
Those charged with the crimes were:
- Michael E. Hasert, 60, of Scio
- Lionel C. Carter, 58, of Wellsville
- Todd E. Varney, 31, of Wellsville
- Bradley J. Hollenbeck, 34, of Andover
- Patrick J. Danielewicz, 34, of Friendship
- Sarah J. Greene, 37, of Wellsville
- Elizabeth J. Schreiber, 35, of Scio
- Michael C. Mullen, 34, of Hornell
- Timothy J. Billings, 30, of Wellsville
- Justin L. Billings, 32, of Wellsville
- Jordan R. Doane, 26, of Friendship
- Zackery D. Billings, 25, of Springwater
- Derek Fagan, 30, of Wellsville
In addition, Michael Hasert is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, maintaining a drug involved premises, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking and being a felon in possession of firearms.
Timothy and Justin Billings are also facing charges of maintaining a drug involved premises and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.
In 2014 there were more than 200 meth labs stopped by police in New York. Thirty-four were in western New York.
Producing meth is a very dangerous operation and puts not only the users at risk but anyone near the lab in danger. In the last five years the number of meth related emergency room incidents has doubled, according to authorities.