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Federal jury convicts father-son duo in murder, drug conspiracy

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  • Staff Report 

A federal jury in New York has convicted Lavon Parks, 32, and his father James C. Parks, 58, both residents of Niagara Falls, for their involvement in a drug-related murder. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the verdict, which includes charges of narcotics conspiracy, use of a firearm in drug trafficking, and homicide.

Lavon Parks faced additional charges of attempting to possess and distribute significant amounts of cocaine and possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. The convictions carry a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, with a potential life sentence and up to a $250,000 fine.

The prosecutors revealed that from May 2017 to March 2019, the Parks were part of a cocaine selling conspiracy in the Niagara Falls and Buffalo areas. The case centered around the murder of Kevin Turner, a crack cocaine dealer, outside a Niagara Street residence in Niagara Falls on January 21, 2018. Turner had moved from Buffalo to Niagara Falls shortly before the shooting.

Government evidence indicated that Lavon and James Parks were scouting the area in a truck before the murder. Video evidence linked a truck, registered to Lavon Parks’ then-girlfriend, to the crime scene. Ballistics evidence matched a firearm, later recovered, and connected to Lavon Parks through illegal trade.

The investigation also involved controlled drug purchases and the seizure of approximately 8.5 kilograms of cocaine and $52,000 from parcels shipped across the U.S. The parcels were linked to the drug trafficking operation.

The jury’s verdict followed an investigation by multiple agencies, including the Niagara Falls Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Lavon Parks is scheduled for sentencing on June 26, 2024, and James Parks on June 27, 2024, before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.