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BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that following a two week trial, a federal jury has convicted Jawayne Watkins, 32, aka Weezy, of Buffalo, NY, of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and 4-fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl, possessing with intent to distribute, and distributing heroin and 4-fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl, possessing with intent to distribute, and distributing heroin and 4-fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl, causing serious bodily injury to, and the death an individual. Watkins faces a mandatory penalty of life in prison.

“While this Office has charged numerous individuals with distributing deadly opiates that resulted in the death of another individual, Watkins is only the second defendant so-charged to choose to exercise his constitutional right to a jury trial,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Both Watkins and his predecessor, Dontrell Wise, were convicted at trial, and both, having previously been convicted of drug offenses, face mandatory life sentences as a result. The message should be clear.  If you peddle this poison and someone dies from the drugs you provide, then your cost of doing business will be to have to spend at least 20 years—if not the rest of your life—in jail. That you may not have intended to kill or even hurt anyone won’t entitle you to any discounts.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael J. Adler and Meghan E. Leydecker, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that Watkins sold heroin and 4 fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl. 4 fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl is a rare and extremely dangerous fentanyl analogue.

On at least two occasions, in July 2017, and on November 9, 2017, Homeland Security Investigations made controlled purchases from the defendant. The substances purchased from Watkins later tested positive for heroin and 4 fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl. On November 10, 2017, an individual identified as A.C. died after taking a substance received from Watkins. Toxicology reports following the victim’s death indicated she had heroin and 4 fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl in her system. During the investigation, law enforcement officers also made other seizures of the deadly substance from the defendant. 

Watkins was on New York State parole and living in a halfway house at the time of his arrest in November 2017.

The verdict is the result of an investigation by the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood and Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.    

Sentencing is scheduled for January 29, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara who presided over the trial of the case. 

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