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Albion man arrested for importing synthetic drugs

Staff Reports Posted 21 April 2015 at 12:00 am

BUFFALO – An Albion man has been arrested for importing synthetic drugs, an alleged crime that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced on Monday that Donald Stirk, 35, of Albion has been charged with possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of a Schedule I controlled substance, conspiracy to import and importing a Schedule I controlled substance, and smuggling.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Pimentel, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on March 5, 2015, Customs and Border Protection officers in Memphis, Tenn., selected a package mailed from China to a “Donald Starks” in Albion, NY for routine inspection. The contents of the package were listed as “Betaine HCL,” a dietary supplement. Further inspection revealed the package actually contained Alpha-PVP, a Schedule I controlled substance, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.

The complaint further states that on March 13, 2015, law enforcement officers determined there was another package from China addressed to “Donald Starks” at the Albion Post Office. Further inspection revealed the package contained Alpha-PVP. As the investigation continued, law enforcement officers continued to identify more packages from China intended for the defendant.

On April 15, 2015, a search warrant was executed at Stirk’s residence on State Route 31 in Albion. According to the complaint, the defendant purchased the chemicals to help him with his mental illness. Stirk also sold the chemicals to another individual, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.

Following his arrest, the defendant made an initial appearance on April 17 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott and is being held pending a detention hearing on April 23.

The complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge J. Michael Kennedy.