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LIVINGSTON COUNTY – The unlucky couple who apparently got into a fight on the side of I-390 on Saturday between Dansville and Sonyea and sped off in their vehicle, later rear-ending a car hauler and flipping their vehicle on its side, were indicted with 11 others on Tuesday in federal court for “smurfing,” or helping produce more than 500 grams of Methamphetamine, or “meth,” for an illegal drug lab in Wellsville, NY.
According to a press release from U.S. Attorney William Hochul, Jr., a federal grand jury has returned three separate indictments charging 13 defendants, including accident victims Bradley Hollenbeck, 34, and Sarah Greene, 37, with conspiracy to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute and to distribute, more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, a charge that carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10 million fine for each defendant.
“Over the last several years, we have seen an increase in the number of cases involving this highly toxic and dangerous substance,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “The public needs to be educated that ingestion of crystal meth causes profound and almost immediate physical, mental and emotional consequences, while the production process can also be deadly.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Duszkiewicz, who is handling the case, alleges that between January 2011 and late 2014, all of these defendants conspired to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine. The defendants engaged in the practice of “smurfing” (buying small quantities) at local pharmacies to get around restrictions on purchasing products containing pseudo ephedrine, which he says is the most important chemical necessary in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine.
Defendant Michael Hasert is charged for possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, maintaining a drug involved premises, possessing more than 10 firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, and being a felon in possession of firearms. The charges carry a penalty of 20 years in prison and a mandatory five years to be served consecutively to any sentence imposed.
Brothers Timothy and Justin Billings are also facing charges of maintaining a drug involved premises and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. These charges also carry a penalty of 20 years in prison and a mandatory five years to be served consecutively to any sentence imposed.
The indictments are the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division; the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) under the direction of Lieutenant Kevin Reyes and Major David Krause; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid, New York Division; the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, under the direction of Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb; the Wellsville Police Department under the direction of Chief Timothy O’Grady; U.S. Border Patrol under the direction of Patrol Agent in Charge Steven Oldman; and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation under the direction of Captain Frank Lauricella.
The defendants charged are Michael E. Hasert, 60, of Scio, NY; Lionel C. Carter, 58, of Wellsville, NY; Todd E. Varney, 31, of Wellsville, NY; Bradley J. Hollenbeck, 34, of Andover, NY; Patrick J. Danielewicz, 34, of Friendship, NY; Sarah J. Greene, 37, of Wellsville, NY; Elizabeth J. Schreiber, 35, of Scio, NY; Michael C. Mullen, 34, of Hornell, NY; Timothy J. Billings, 30, of Wellsville, NY; Justin L. Billings, 32, of Wellsville, NY; Jordan R. Doane, 26, of Friendship, NY; Zackery D. Billings, 25, of Springwater, NY; Derek Fagan, 30, of Wellsville, NY.
PHOTO CAPTION: (Photo/Flickr.com)