To hear prosecutors talk, Robert "Fonz" Moore was a drug dealer who left behind a trail of fatal overdoses.
Even more significant, perhaps, the five people who died at his hand were seeking help, they said.
"They were going through rehab, they were going through treatment and they had the support of people who loved them," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Felicetta said Friday of the victims who died.
The deaths, fatal heroin and fentanyl overdoses, are at the core of a new federal prosecution targeting Moore and three other accused drug dealers.
The victims ranged from a 21-year-old Lockport woman and 45-year-old Buffalo man to three men from Lancaster, ages 24, 31, and 36. The grand jury indictment identifies them only by initials.
In a second indictment, prosecutors charged Oliver Kimmons, of Lockport, with selling fentanyl that killed a sixth person in January of 2015.
Kimmons is not connected to Moore or the others but is well known to federal law enforcement authorities. He is currently facing other charges, including allegations that he ran a sex trafficking ring and provided fentanyl and heroin to the female victims, many of them addicts, who were part of the ring.
The previous indictment against Kimmons claims he drove his young, opiate-addicted victims to farms, dairies and Indian Reservations across the region to engage in sex for money or drugs.
U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. said the two cases are not the first prosecution of a drug dealer tied to a fatal overdose, but the number of deaths separates this case from others.
"Tonight," Kennedy told reporters Friday, "there won't be five individuals on the streets peddling poison."
Kennedy singled out Moore as the ring leader of a drug conspiracy that sold heroin and fentanyl on the streets of Buffalo, in parking lots in Amherst and at a local shopping mall.
Moore, according to court papers, was arrested after investigators searched his home on Glenwood Drive in Williamsville and discovered 200 doses of fentanyl. Prosecutors said they also found more than $49,000 in cash, $440,000 in jewelry and a 2009 Audi S5 Quattro.
Kennedy said the charges stem from a two-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York State Police, and Amherst and Buffalo police that resulted in evidence of Moore's leadership role in the conspiracy.
"He's charged with distributing drugs that caused five deaths," he said of the defendant.
Felicetta, who is prosecuting the cases with Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, said the 39-year old Moore is charged with his brother, Reese, 25, of Buffalo, and two other men, Kevin Abernathy, 31, of Buffalo, and Joshua Levine, 21, of Lancaster.
The new indictments are not the government’s first prosecution involving fatal overdoses. Last year, a local woman, Maria K. Mestre, was charged with selling fentanyl that killed an English teacher from Lancaster. Although not directly charged with murder, Mestre is facing allegations that could result in a longer-than-expected prison sentence if she is ever convicted.
In December, Carlique DeBerry, a local drug dealer, admitted selling the fentanyl that killed a Hamburg man in 2016. The man is identified in court papers as "R.G." DeBerry, who has a previous fraud conviction, is facing a recommended sentence of up to 27 years in prison.
One of the first prosecutions involving a death ended in Peter N. Militello, a 35-year-old drug dealer from the Town of Tonawanda, going to prison for 30 years in November of 2015. Militello sold the fentanyl-laced heroin that killed one of his customers, Robert Runfola, who was found dead in his Buffalo home, the bags of heroin near his body.