By Patti Singer
The husband of Mayor Lovely Warren was not an original target in a wiretap investigation but became one over the course of seven months.
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said evidence led them to Timothy Granison, who was one of seven people so far arrested on drug and weapons charges.
Warren has not been charged in the investigation, Doorley and State Police Major Barry Chase said at a May 20 news conference. Chase said Warren is being contacted through her attorney. Doorley said the investigation was continuing and additional people could be charged but she would not comment further.
She and Chase on May 20 provided what they said was a preliminary overview of events that led up to a search warrant being executed on the mayor’s home the day before.
“I’m sure there are going to be people out there who think that this is politically motivated,” Doorley said. “It was not. Timothy Granison was not the original target of this wire investigation. … ”
She said she wanted the public to know the status since the search warrant received so much news coverage.
Warren responded in her own news conference four hours later, in which she inferred the charges were politically motivated.
The mayor is facing a primary challenge from Rochester City Councilmember Malik Evans, and early voting starts June 10. The mayor pointed out that Granison’s next court date is scheduled for June 21, one day before primary election day.
“There’s nothing that implicates me in these charges,” she said. “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
She said she and Granison signed a separation agreement a few years ago that has them co-parenting their child. She said she has not spoken to him since his arrest and “I am not standing here to defend him.”
The mayor called on her faith and sounded defiant, calling the timing of the arrest “quite the coincidence” and asking why it came after she had announced a plan to explore reparations and she said momentum was building for her in the mayoral race.
“When you figure out those answers, come find me, because I’ll be working,” she said, turning to go back to her office without taking questions.
City Council President Loretta Scott issued a statement later on May 20:
“I was totally surprised to hear of the raid that was conducted at the home of Mayor Lovely Warren yesterday. My understanding is that the investigation is still in the early stages; therefore, there is not much I can say at this time. Despite yesterday’s event, I have every reason to believe that Mayor Warren will continue to do her job and will remain focused on serving the citizens of Rochester.”
Two weapons – an unregistered handgun and a semiautomatic rifle – were found at the mayor’s house. Chase and Doorley said the rifle would be examined by the Monroe County Crime Lab to determine whether it is a legal firearm.
The mayor’s daughter was home alone when state police arrived. Chase said Granison was brought to the house to talk with her and that police called a family member to take the girl. “She was safe,” Chase said.
Warrants were executed at eight addresses across the city on May 19 and the morning of May 20.
A handgun was recovered at each of two other addresses.
Police also seized more than two kilograms of powdered and crack cocaine with a street value of approximately $60,000 and more than $100,000 cash.
“If you look at the amount of cocaine, seized money, seized weapons, we believe this whole organization was a mid-level drug organization that was infecting the city of Rochester,” Doorley said.
Granison was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a firearm. He was arraigned May 20 and released on his own recognizance. Doorley said the charges do not qualify for bail.
As of the news conference, seven people had been arrested. She and Chase declined to answer some questions about the investigation, but here is an overview of the information.
What led to search warrants? Doorley said that seven months ago, law enforcement provided information that led to a wiretap investigation. The investigation initially was led by the Rochester Police Department. “During the course of the investigation, Timothy Granison became apparent to us as being a player in this narcotics ring,” she said.
At that point, the New York State Police took over the wiretap from RPD to avoid conflict of interest. (The police chief is appointed by the mayor.)
Chase said that at 3:30 p.m. May 19, State Police and others as part of a task force stopped a car on Birch Crescent as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation. Police alleged Granison was operating the car and had cocaine.
There was another occupant in the car, who also was arrested and charged in relation to drugs and an unregistered handgun.
Who did authorities charge?
- Timothy Granison, charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree with intent to sell, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a firearm;
- Dkeidron Dublin, charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree with intent to sell, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree;
- Jason Siplin, charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree and three counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree;
- Jason Siplin Jr., charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree and criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree;
- Namon Brown, charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree with intent to sell and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree;
- Ernest S. Gamble was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree with intent to sell and two counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the 2nd degree; and
- Lytrice Jackson was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree with intent to sell and two counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree.
Which agencies were involved in the investigation? The Monroe County District Attorney, the state police, the Rochester police and the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Interdiction Team took part.
How significant is this seizure? Doorley said the haul was “very significant. … We would deem this to mid-level suppliers. And if you think about the amount of cocaine that we were able to seize with a street value of over $60,000, that’s significant. And again, that was powder and crack cocaine.” She also said seizing three firearms and a rifle was significant.
What’s next? Doorley and Chase declined to say what questions they would ask Warren when they speak with her. Doorley said searches are expected to continue.