BUFFALO — An East Randolph man is one of two indicted by a federal grand jury on drug distribution charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York said a grand jury handed up indictments charging Brandon Smith, 32, of Jamestown, and Mark R. Maio, 34, of East Randolph, with narcotics conspiracy, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and marijuana. Maio is also charged with using and maintaining a drug-involved premises, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine on premises where an individual under 18 was present and resided.

The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine.

The charge involving a minor — which requires a mandatory consecutive prison term of up to 20 years — is a first in the region.

“Today we unveil a new weapon which we deploy as part of our effort to protect our community from the scourge that methamphetamine trafficking brings to it,” noted U.S. Attorney James Kennedy. “This indictment marks the first time that any person in the Western District of New York has been charged with violating Title 21, United States Code, Section 860a, which requires that the sentencing court imposes a mandatory, additional, consecutive term of up to 20 years in prison, whenever a methamphetamine-related drug offenses occurs on a premises at which a child is present.

“While we have directed much of our recent law enforcement effort to combatting deadly opioids, methamphetamine — though it may be a slower death — also kills. When it comes to protecting our community, new threats warrant new responses.”

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti, who is handling the case, the case began in March 2018 as the Jamestown Police Department Narcotics Unit began investigating Maio and Smith for the distribution of methamphetamine in and around the city. The investigation included controlled purchases of narcotics from defendant Maio.

On Jan. 23, the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force executed a state search warrant at Maio’s residence on Main Street in East Randolph. Maio and Smith were present at the time, along with two other adults and three minor children. Smith attempted to leave the residence but was detained and searched. Investigators recovered suspected crystal methamphetamine and on Smith. They also searched Maio and recovered suspected crack cocaine and a large amount of cash. During a search of the residence, investigators recovered suspected marijuana, crystal methamphetamine, a digital scale, and other drug packaging and paraphernalia.

The defendants were arraigned this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and detained.

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Jamestown Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Division, and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, under the direction of Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Ronald Lott.

Federal charges involving local drug crimes are relatively rare, but not unheard of. A 2012 methamphetamine case in Wellsville led to 13 people being charged with federal crimes in 2015.

(Contact reporter-editor Bob Clark at bclark@olean

timesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)

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