When Dale Lockwood was arrested two years ago, he warned investigators about his ties to a high-ranking Buffalo police officer.
“Do you have any idea who I am?” he said. “My brother’s the deputy police commissioner."
Lockwood’s claim turned out to be true but it didn’t help him avoid allegations that he took part in a major drug-trafficking operation run by members of the Afro Dogs motorcycle club.
On Monday, he admitted his guilt as part of a plea deal that ends a two-year-long investigation that snared several high-profile names.
“He’s the last one,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Duskiewicz said of the 12 defendants in the cocaine prosecution. “This plea was entered into in order to avoid a second trial."
Lockwood, 60, was one of five defendants who went to trial earlier this year and the only one in the Afro Dogs case who the jury could not decide was guilty or innocent.
“He determined it was in his best interest to take this plea," said defense attorney John P. Pieri. “He considered the consequences of a conviction as a result of a new trial."
Lockwood, who had a previous felony drug conviction, will face a likely sentence of between 60 and 71 months in prison instead of the 20 years to life he would have faced if he had gone to trial and been found guilty.
As part of his deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.
From the day his brother was arrested, Deputy Police Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood has denied any involvement with the Afro Dogs drug ring, a claim investigators with the Drug Enforcement Administration have confirmed.
“We lead separate lives," Lockwood said at this time of his brother’s arrest in 2011. “I’ve never talked about police investigations or sensitive activities with anyone outside of police personnel."
Dale Lockwood was not the only defendant in the Afro Dogs case with connections to City Hall.
Ricky M. Allen Sr., who took a plea deal and became a key witness at this year’s trial, was the former head of the Buffalo Joint Commission to Examine Police Reorganization.
Allen was accused of passing inside information about police investigations on to the alleged leader of the cocaine ring, and eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
He also was the target of an attack earlier this year that police believe was tied to his testimony in the drug case.
Investigators say 10 to 12 shots were fired into Allen’s home. Allen, his wife and their 11-year-old son were at home but not injured.