BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Three individuals were arraigned Friday morning on multiple felony drug charges following a joint investigation by authorities, the Erie County District Attorney announced.
Timothy Tucker, 48, of Inglewood, California, Chasity Banks, 23, of Palmdale, California, and Loany Gato Aronategui, 19, of Henderson, Nevada, were arraigned on the following charges:
- Criminal possession of a controlled substance
- Criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell
Tucker, Banks, and Gato-Aronategui were the subjects of an investigation into suspected cocaine trafficking.
“On January 18, Sheriff’s personnel initiated surveillance of two subjects of the investigation at a suburban hotel and the surveillance of a third subject at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport,” the Sheriff’s office wrote.
Tucker was seen arriving on a flight from Detroit and leaving the airport in a vehicle, traveling to a residence in Buffalo, authorities said.
Less than two hours after that, Banks and Gato-Aronatequi were seen leaving the hotel and traveling to the same residence, they said.
Later that evening, members of the Sheriff’s office’s SWAT team forced their way into the Pine Street residence, detaining Tucker and Gato-Aronategui. Banks was detained following a traffic stop in the city.
Investigators from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics and Intelligence Unit, assisted by the Buffalo Police Department and FBI Safe Streets Task Force, searched the residence and a vehicle.
Upon investigation, authorities say they found a total of 14 kilograms of suspected cocaine inside a bucket in the garage of the rental residence and a hidden compartment of the rental vehicle.
Tucker, Banks, and Gato Aronategui were accused of knowingly and unlawfully being in possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.
All three individuals are scheduled to return to court on Jan. 24 for a felony hearing. They continue to be held without bail.
If convicted of the highest charge, each faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.