Albion man pleads guilty to importing synthetic drugs
Donald Stirk could be sentenced to 20 years in prison
BUFFALO – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Donald Stirk, 36, of Albion pleaded guilty to importing αPVP into the United States before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
Stirk was arrested in April for importing synthetic drugs. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimentel, who is handling the case, stated that on March 5, 2015, Customs and Border Protection officers in Memphis, Tenn. conducted a routine inspection of a package mailed from China and addressed to the defendant “Donald Starks” in Albion.
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.
Law enforcement officers on March 13 determined there was another package from China addressed to “Donald Starks” at the Albion Post Office. Further inspection revealed the package contained Alpha-PVP, according to Hochul’s office.
As the investigation continued, law enforcement officers continued to identify more packages from China intended for Stirk. On April 15, 2015, officers performed a controlled delivery of several of the packages to Stirk at his Albion residence on Route 31 and then executed a search warrant at the residence revealing an additional quantity of αPVP.
According to Hochul’s office, 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.
The plea by Stirk is the result of an investigation by Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 23, 2016 at 11 a.m. before Judge Wolford.