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Former Niagara Falls police officer, co-defendant sentenced for their roles in drug conspiracy

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that former Niagara Falls, NY, Police Officer Stephanie A. Costanzo, 29, who was convicted of managing a drug involved premises, was sentenced to time served and three years supervised release by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. In addition, co-defendant Lindsay Carrier, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 28 grams or more of crack cocaine, was sentenced to serve 70 months in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Violanti, who handled the case, stated that between July 28, 2016, and November 8, 2016, co-defendant Raymond Hopson made several sales of crack cocaine to an undercover (UC) officer posing as a drug customer. During that time, Hopson was living with Stephanie Costanzo, at her residence on Grand Avenue in Niagara Falls. Hopson would store some of his cocaine, along with paraphernalia used to weigh and distribute the cocaine, at the residence. 

On November 9, 2016, Special Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with the Niagara Falls Police Department executed a search warrant at Costanzo’s residence. Agents and officers recovered approximately 5.6 grams of cocaine, a digital scale used for weighing and distributing the cocaine, and drug paraphernalia used to package and distribute the cocaine. Although she did not participate in the distribution of the controlled substances, Costanzo was aware that Hopson stored his cocaine and paraphernalia at her residence.

Lindsay Carrier conspired with Raymond Hopson to distribute crack cocaine. On five occasions between July 28, 2016, and November 8, 2016, Hopson obtained crack cocaine from Carrier and then sold it to an undercover officer. A search warrant executed at the Willow Avenue residence of Carrier’s mother, resulted in the seizure of quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine.

Raymond Hopson was previously convicted and will be sentenced at a later date.

“When a person turns a blind eye to criminal conduct, they become complicit in it,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Today’s sentencings make clear that in our community there will be no refuge granted to drug dealers or to those who assist drug dealers.”

The sentencings are the result of an investigation by the Niagara Falls Police Department, under the direction of Superintendent Bryan Dalporto, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division.