Buffalo Man Indicted For Murder And Selling Heroin That Led To A Death

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a 12-count superseding indictment charging Donte Walker, a/k/a Slim, 28, of Buffalo, NY, with murder while engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise and narcotics conspiracy, tampering with a witness, discharge of firearms causing death in furtherance of crimes of violence and drug trafficking crimes, conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in death, and several narcotics offenses. The charges can carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison, or a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison and a fine up to a $20,000,000. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles J. Volkert, Jr. and Paul. C. Parisi, who are handling the case, stated that according to the superseding indictment, the defendant is accused of orchestrating the murder of Ryan Thurnherr on October 16, 2018, and causing the heroin overdose death of an individual identified as M.O.

Between 2012 and November 2018, Walker was a leader of a heroin and cocaine trafficking organization operating in the Buffalo, NY, area. In 2013, as part of the ongoing narcotics conspiracy, the defendant was responsible for the distribution of heroin to M.O., which resulted in M.O.’s death.

To further his drug-trafficking operation, Walker utilized various associates, including drug runners and lower-level drug dealers. At a peak in the defendant’s heroin distribution enterprise in 2015 and 2016, Walker was responsible for the daily distribution of hundreds of grams of heroin, sometimes mixed with butyryl fentanyl or furanyl fentanyl. Over the years, the defendant also regularly sold cocaine.

On October 16, 2018, the defendant lured Ryan Thurnherr to an area near the East Ferry Liquor Store in Buffalo under the auspices of engaging in a drug transaction. Shortly after shots were fired, and Thurnherr was found murdered in a vacant lot near the T-intersection of Winslow Avenue and Brooklyn Street. Walker believed Thurnherr was a witness or a threat to become a witness in the ongoing DEA investigation into the defendant’s drug-trafficking organization.

Donte Walker is scheduled for an arraignment on the superseding indictment on November 22, 2019, at 10:30 a.m.

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood; the Tonawanda Police Department, under the direction of Chief William Strassburg; and the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack. 

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