A reputed Buffalo marijuana kingpin was convicted Monday of drug and weapons charges stemming from a raid on what police said was a drug warehouse in a two-family West Side home.
A State Supreme Court jury found Clyde Moffett, 38, guilty of second-degree criminal possession of marijuana and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon linked to a Nov. 8, 1989, raid at his home at 484 W. Utica St.
Moffett, also known as Mecal Malik, claimed he didn't live in the upper flat where Buffalo police seized 10 pounds of marijuana valued at about $28,000 and an unlicensed .38-caliber handgun. But prosecutor Kevin J. Kane, chief of the Erie County district attorney's drug bureau, showed that Moffett, according to Niagara Mohawk and National Fuel records, paid utilities on the upper flat under the name of Clyde Moffett and paid the utilities on the lower flat under his Muslim name.
During the trial, Buffalo police narcotics detectives identified 484 W. Utica St. as a "stash house" or drug warehouse, where Moffett prepared "dime" bags each containing $10 worth of marijuana for sale at a Kehr Street "gate house." Moffett allegedly used the Kehr Street address to limit the amount of drugs he carried at any one time, reducing the chances of his being arrested on felony drug charges, according to police testimony.
Lt. Joseph Riga of the Buffalo Narcotics Unit said police believe Moffett is "a major supplier of marijuana on the East Side." Moffett came to Buffalo in 1984 from Mobile, Ala., Kane said.
Defense attorney Bohdan M. Harasym argued that authorities lacked sufficient evidence to tie Moffett to the marijuana and the gun. Kane said Moffett's link to the illicit goods was the legal "control" he exercised over the premises.
Prosecutor Karen M. Greenspan said Moffett faces separate trials in connection with the July 1989 shooting of Sam Stevens, 40; the beating of his own daughter, Erica Holcomb, 19, with a cane and shooting at her Sept. 5, 1989, and pistol-whipping another man last year. Those cases, which involve assault and burglary charges, are drug-related, prosecutors said.
Justice Mario J. Rossetti scheduled sentencing for Jan. 10. Moffett remains in jail without bail.