East Rochester Man Sentenced for Roles in Scrap Metal Theft and Marijuana Grow Operation
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 10, 2013|
ROCHESTER, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Christopher H. Monfort, 41, of East Rochester, New York, who was convicted of burglary of a railcar and manufacturing 50 or more marijuana plants, was sentenced to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay $4,669.26 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who handled the case, stated that Monfort was involved in four scrap metal thefts between June 19 and June 30, 2009. On June 30, 2009, the defendant, along with Richard E. Riedman, Anthony Russell, Anthony Toscano, and Timothy M. Stone, stole more than 17 gross tons of a high-grade scrap steel from a railcar at a CSXT rail yard in Batavia, New York. Monfort and his co-conspirators used a logging truck to remove the scrap steel from the railcar, wore dark clothing, used lookouts to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities and pedestrians, and used two-way radios to communicate with each other during the theft.
The defendant and Stone were apprehended in the logging truck, and Riedman, Toscano, and Russell were arrested in a pick-up truck by members of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office as they left the scene of the theft in the early morning hours of June 30, 2009. The bales were in the process of being shipped to a steel mill in Pennsylvania when Monfort and his co-conspirators stole them. The defendant also stole an additional 50 gross tons of the same type of high-grade processed scrap steel during three other thefts from railcars at the same CSXT railroad yard between June 19 and June 20, 2009.
Riedman, Toscano, Russell, and Stone were convicted of the theft that occurred on June 30, 2009, after a two-week jury trial before Judge Siragusa in September 2012. Toscano, Russell, and Stone were sentenced to 18 months, 15 months, and 12 months in prison, respectively. Riedman is awaiting sentencing.
The marijuana charge stemmed from a search warrant executed at a residence located at 353 Noridge Drive in Irondequoit, New York, in December 2011. During the search, the police recovered 276 marijuana plants, as well as scales, lights, and other equipment used to grow and manufacture marijuana. Monfort admitted to using the residence to house a marijuana grow operation.
The convictions relating to the scrap metal thefts are the culmination of an investigation on the part of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian P. Boetig, and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Gary Maha.
The conviction relating to the marijuana grow operation is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, composed of law enforcement personnel from the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief James M. Sheppard; the Brighton Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mark Henderson; the East Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Steven J. Clancy; and the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell, New York Field Division.