BUFFALO, NY – Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 48-year-old Timothy C. Tucker of Inglewood, California, 23-year-old Chastity Y. Banks of Palmdale, California and 19-year-old Loany G. Gato Aronategui of Henderson, Nevada were arraigned yesterday morning before Buffalo City Court Judge Kevin J. Keane.
The defendants have been charged with one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (Class “A-I” felony) and one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (Class “B” felony).
The defendants were the subject of an investigation into suspected cocaine trafficking. On Wednesday, January 18, 2023, at approximately 7:30 p.m., investigators from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics and Intelligence Unit, assisted by the Buffalo Police Department and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, executed a search warrant at a residence on the 100 block of Pine Street in the City of Buffalo. Investigators found approximately 14 kilos of suspected cocaine inside of the garage of the rental home and inside of a hidden compartment of a rental vehicle. The defendants are accused of knowingly and unlawfully being in possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.
Banks, Tucker and Gato Aronategui are scheduled to return on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. for a felony hearing. All three defendants were held without bail.
If convicted of the highest charge, each faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
DA Flynn commends the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics and Intelligence Unit, Buffalo Police Department and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force for their work in this investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Chief John P. Gerken, Jr. of the Narcotics/Intelligence Unit.
As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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