Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 18, 2013

8 from Rochester drug group busted

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Eight people from Rochester were charged Monday for distributing significant quantities of methylone, also known as “Molly,” a Schedule I controlled substance.

It’s the same drug a Barker man is accused of possessing and selling, following his indictment by a federal grand jury earlier this month. Allen M. Young, 37, has been charged with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methylone, conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Young was arrested Feb. 14 in Erie, Pa. and remains in custody. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1 million or both.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. said federal authorities in Rochester successfully infiltrated a significant international synthetic drug trafficking ring. 

Named in the criminal complaint are: Joshua Buerman, 25, Michele Hess, 21, Kevin Willard, 21, Andrew Bosch, 28, Madhu Ashok, 21, Lance Minielly, 23, Jesse James Macaveny, 20, Rita Levy Panzica, 18, all of Rochester. They face the same maximum charges as Young.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas E. Gregory said since June 2012, members of the organization used a supply source located in China to “obtain significant quantities of methylone, as well as several other synthetic substances.”

Methylone is a stimulant that has a chemical structure closely related to 3,4-methyelenedioxymethamphetamine, known commonly as “MDMA” or ecstacy. Its crystalline form is often sold on the streets and in clubs by the shorthand term “Molly.”

Methylone was the subject of an October 2011 Drug Enforcement Administration Emergency Scheduling Order and was permanently listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in April.

As part of its investigation, the federal government obtained a court order authorizing the interception of emails going back and forth to the source of supply in China. During the 30 day interception period, investigators generated more than 450 leads which were disseminated to various police agencies across the United States.

The leads resulted in 54 arrests nationwide and the seizure of more than 70 kilograms of methylone. Also found was numerous controlled substances, several kilograms of cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA, more than $50,000 in cash, several motor vehicles and weapons, including several firearms.

Rochester investigators also found evidence that the China-based supplier was shipping an assortment of controlled substances to numerous customers located all over the world.

In August investigators learned through the email interception that several shipments of methylone were being shipped to members of the Rochester group. The packages were intercepted and found to contain a total of 3.5 kilograms of Methylone crystals.

“This international investigation shows one path by which massive quantities of synthetic drugs can enter our communities,” Hochul said. “Both law enforcement and the public must continue to be vigilant as we together work towards keeping this and like substances — which can be deadly — out of the area.”

“There has been a 300 percent increase in poison centers nationwide responding to calls related to synthetic drugs and 60 percent of the cases involved patients 25 years old and younger. Our youth are the targets of drug trafficking organizations distributing synthetic drugs like methylone under the guise of it being molly or ecstasy,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell. “Kids need to know they are not taking ecstasy. We are seeing street dealers selling something with a catchy name such as molly, and in fact it’s poisonous synthetic chemicals made in labs in China. Overdoses from ingesting these types of chemicals are extremely dangerous and unforgiving.”

Methylone has become an increasingly popular “club drug” causing users to experience feelings very similar to ecstasy. The New York City Medical Examiner has confirmed that two young people, including Jeffrey Russ of Greece, N.Y., who died at the Electric Zoo festival on Randalls Island over Labor Day weekend, took lethal mixtures of methylone and MDMA.