BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Ryan Smolinski, 26, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to arson of a commercial building before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward H. White, who is handling the case, stated that on June 13, 2014, Smolinski, along with co-defendant Lowell Carey and another co-conspirator, went to 349 Ontario St., occupied by WNY Property Contractors, and threw a Molotov cocktail onto the roof of the building and placed anpther Molotov cocktail underneath a garage door on the side of the building.
On the night of June 12, 2014, Smolinski had been drinking with Carey and the co-conspirator at Carey’s house. Smolinski was upset about his father losing his business, Western New York Property Contractors, which his father co-owned with another individual. Smolinski asked Carey and the co-conspirator if they would help him burn the building. They agreed and made the two Molotov cocktails from beer bottles they had been drinking from and using gasoline and a t-shirt as a wick.
Smolinski, Carey, and the co-conspirator proceeded to Western New York Property Contractors in the early morning hours of June 13, 2014 and set off the Lolotov cocktails. The outside of the building was burned in the areas where the Molotov cocktails were located resulting in approximately $2,207.89 in damages.
Charges are pending against Lowell Carey. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid, and the Buffalo Fire Department, under the direction of Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.