Last month, former drug kingpin Vincent J. Aliotta told a judge his downhill slide into trafficking began with the violent death of his father, who was stabbed to death by the road manager of the Allman Brothers Band in the Aliotta family's restaurant in 1970.
A member of Aliotta's once-potent cocaine distribution network, Charlie Pfohl, followed the same script at his sentencing this week in U.S. District Court.
Pfohl, 37, told Judge Richard J. Arcara his life also turned for the worse in 1970 when his father was accidentally shot to death by a Cheektowaga police officer. Charles A. Pfohl was fatally wounded after running a stop sign and leading the officer on a car and foot chase.
The son, who was 5 at the time, told Arcara he later was influenced by his mother's drug involvement, and committed his first crime at age 14.
Pfohl admitted helping Aliotta sell drugs by phone from a Genesee Street pawn shop -- one of three business fronts the gang used before the FBI rounded up the members in 1991.
Unlike Aliotta, who was sentenced to 20 years and 1 month in prison, Pfohl was given a two-year term and fined $2,000. Arcara recommended the time be served in a federal prison camp at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, where Pfohl now lives.