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Buffalo man gets 262 months in prison for deaths of opioid users

A Buffalo man who admitted selling a mix of opiates that caused the deaths of two of his customers has been sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison, U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. announced Monday.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo handed down the 262-month sentence to Aaron J. McDuffie, 24, also known as G.

McDuffie pleaded guilty in February to two counts of distributing the drug mixtures causing death. Mandatory minimum sentence for each count is 20 years.

Prosecutors said the victims, a 24-year-old Cheektowaga man identified by the initials A.E. and a 34-year-old West Seneca man identified as D.M., died after taking the drugs, which McDuffie had branded as Fire.

The powder purchased by A.E. on June 27, 2015, was a mix of heroin and butyryl fentanyl, which is similar to fentanyl. D.M. purchased powder on Nov. 23, 2016, that contained heroin, butyryl fentanyl and furanyl fentanyl, also similar to fentanyl, prosecutors said.

Cheektowaga police investigating the death of A.E. found incriminating cellphone calls between him and McDuffie, prosecutors said. An undercover Cheektowaga detective subsequently bought butyryl fentanyl from McDuffie on Eagle Street in Buffalo on three occasions.

Police arrested McDuffie on Nov. 30, 2016, as he was leaving his Buffalo home en route to another drug sale, prosecutors said.

In a search of his home, officers found a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with eight rounds of ammunition under his living room couch.

In a letter to the judge before sentencing, McDuffie wrote that he has joined a substance abuse program, is “extremely remorseful” and that he “had no intentions of selling for anyone to get hurt.”

He added that he grew up in a Christian home, but “I let the Devil have his way with my mind and fill it with greed.”

In a statement, Kennedy said: “While no amount of jail time will ever bring back an overdose victim, aggressive prosecutions such as this, which result in long prison sentences, serve to protect our community by ensuring that this defendant will not have the opportunity to fatally poison anyone else ... for a very long time.”

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