8 facing charges related to transnational drug trafficking


A judge’s gavel is shown in a file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Eight people are facing charges after prosecutors say they were involved in a transnational drug trafficking ring that stretched from Mexico to Buffalo.

The following people were charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing controlled substances:

  • Ronnie Charleston
  • Robert Claiborne
  • Antoine Gilbert
  • Tonie Wiley
  • Aaron Spain, Jr.
  • Eric Hale

Each person could spend up to 20 years in prison and pay a $1 million fine if convicted.

Saan Thompson and Louis Gilbert were charged by indictment with narcotics conspiracy and possessing with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine.

They each face between five and 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine.

All who were named above have been accused of being part of an organization prosecutors say moved bulk quantities of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl in the western New York area.

Prosecutors believe the organization is headed by David Burgin and David Washington. They were previously arrested on drug conspiracy charges this past February.

During their investigation, law enforcement officials say they were able to intercept multiple communications between those accused of crimes.

On Wednesday morning, search warrants were executed at four different locations. During this time, investigators seized a kilogram of suspected cocaine, 40 grams of suspected crack cocaine packaged for distribution, many pounds of marijuana, a loaded handgun, 1,500 rounds of ammunition, pistol magazines and roughly $27,000 in cash.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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