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Court of Appeals upholds sentence in 2009 Rochester drug trafficking case


ROCHESTER — Acting U. S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed the convictions and sentences of Kevin Lamont Anderson, a/k/a Cuda, and Willie Grimes, a/k/a Chill.

On Oct. 26, 2009, following a six-week trial before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa, a federal jury convicted defendant Anderson of conspiracy to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, maintaining a drug involved premises, and money laundering conspiracy.

From 1990 to December 2005, defendant Anderson led a conspiracy to distribute crack and powder cocaine. Evidence presented by the Government during the trial showed that during the time of the conspiracy, drugs were sold to customers from a series of houses in the northeast section of Rochester controlled by Anderson.

As part of sentencing proceedings, the Government proved that Anderson was responsible for the double homicide in May 2002 of Clifford Robinson and Allen Tyrone Smith in Rochester. Anderson shot Robinson and Smith in a house located at 279 Avenue A in Rochester in furtherance of his drug distribution activity. With the help of several of co-conspirators, Anderson placed the victims' bodies in Clifford Robinson's vehicle and left the vehicle on Cutler Street in Rochester. Police found the bodies in the parked vehicle on Cutler Street on May 15, 2002, two days after the murders.

Anderson was sentenced to life in prison. Defendant Grimes was convicted of possession with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to distribute, crack cocaine and cocaine and sentenced to 135 months in prison.

On appeal, defendants argued that their convictions should be reversed based upon juror misconduct, insufficient evidence, and false testimony. They further argued that their sentences should be vacated as unreasonable. In rejecting each of defendants’ claims, the Judges of the Second Circuit concluded: “We have considered all of the defendants’ arguments on this appeal and find in them no basis for reversal. Accordingly, we AFFIRM the judgments of the district court.” A special jury verdict, determining that Anderson’s assets were subject to forfeiture in the amount of $1,000,000, was also affirmed.  

Seven other defendants were also convicted in this case.

On appeal, the government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimentel. The trial was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank H. Sherman and Everardo A. Rodriguez.