Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced that an Amherst man who posted an illegal weapon on social media has been sentenced to prison. The 33-year-old man was sentenced as a second felony offender on the morning of Monday. August 15, 2022, before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case. Benjamin Jones was sentenced to 5 years in prison and 5 years of post-supervision after he is released.

A Post On Social Media Sparked The investigation

New York State Police began an investigation of Jones after he posted a video of an illegal weapon on social media. Jones was pulled over by NYSP Troopers on Oxford Avenue in the Town of Amherst on October 20, 2021, just before 2 pm. Troopers, who had obtained a warrant, searched his vehicle. They discovered a loaded illegal pistol under the passenger seat in the front of the vehicle.

After Troopers arrested Jones for the gun, they searched his home on Allenhurst Road in Amherst. His girlfriend opened the door and officers saw cocaine and cash in plain view on a table in the living room. After searching the house, officers found two more ounces of cocaine and more cash in a locked safe in a bedroom.

Jones pleaded guilty to one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (Class “C” violent felony) and two counts of Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (Class “C” felonies) on March 21, 2022.

I think we've all heard warnings about police monitoring social media using fake accounts, but maybe thought it was an urban legend. This just goes to show that authorities are paying attention to social media and posting illegal things could result in a real prison sentence.

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These 7 Prisons Are The Most Violent In New York State

New York released a report with the most recent number of violent assaults on inmates in state prisons. There were 134 inmate deaths noted in the report, although it doesn't break down the prisons where each death occurred or who caused them. Here's a look at some of the general violent incidents reported for 2020, which is the most recent data reported by the state. Compared to 10 years ago, inmate assaults have almost doubled. In 2011 there were 666 and in 2020 there were 1,205 reported. These numbers do not include inmate assaults on staff members. Overall, the number of unusual incidents includes things like assaults, deaths, accidents, sexual misconduct, and disruptive behavior.  According to the state,
"The number of unusual incidents has increased 132% from 5,980 in 2011 to 13,870 in 2020. These higher incident numbers were largely due to increases in assaults on incarcerated individuals (+81%), assaults on staff (+86%), contraband (+130%), disruptive behavior (+372%), and staff use of weapons (+1,035%)."
  In 2020, 1,836 weapons used to cut or stab, including ice picks, razor blades, can lids and shanks were discovered in state prisons around New York.

Gallery Credit: Yasmin Young

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