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A 32-year-old former Buffalo man who now lives in League City, Texas, was ordered by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny to serve a 10-year prison term and then have five years of supervised release on his conviction for distributing cocaine and money laundering.

The judge also ordered the forfeiture to the government of $203,000 in cash seized from Will Johnson.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said Johnson, a former Buffalo resident who was one of 20 suspects convicted in this case, was distributing cocaine from the Houston area to associates in Buffalo who sold it in Buffalo and throughout Western New York about five years ago.

In July, 2010, during a wiretap investigation, law enforcement officers executed search warrants at locations including an apartment leased by the defendant in Missouri City, Texas, and his residence at 1546 Viejo Drive, in League City, Texas. Seized in those raids on Johnson’s operations were cocaine and plastic wrappers consistent with packaging for multiple kilograms of cocaine, $55,000 in U.S. currency, a .44-caliber loaded handgun, and boxes of assorted ammunition, Hochul said.

Johnson was also convicted of distributing and transferring funds generated as a result of his drug trafficking through various financial institutions. Johnson paid about $13,000 to Buffalo’s Maxx Auto Sales, a used car lot, for a 2004 Escalade and he arranged to have cash deposits of $20,000, proceeds from his cocaine trafficking, made to various bank accounts. The funds were then used as a down payment for the defendant’s residence in League City, Texas, investigators said.

The investigation of the Texas-to-WNY cocaine trafficking ring was conducted by the DEA, the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the IRS and the Niagara County Drug Enforcement Task Force, under the direction of Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour, Hochul said.

email: mgryta@buffnews.com