According to Donna McAuley, for 45 years she managed to live her life without ever getting so much as a traffic ticket, and now she has people drive past her house and yell "crack head."
McAuley was arrested July 13, 2010 and accused of being part of a methamphetamine ring that included a dealer from Le Roy now serving more than 17 years in a federal prison.
McAuley was charged, along with four others, of conspiracy with intent to distribute narcotics. She was facing a maximum sentence of 40 years and a $2 million fine.
A few weeks ago, the charges against McAuley, aka Donna L. Boon, were dismissed.
The Batavian spent a few weeks trying to get an explanation for the dismissal from the U.S. Attorney's office in Western New York and today we managed to contact Brett Harvey, who was prosecuting the case.
Harvey said he can't discuss the specifics behind the prosecution's motion to dismiss the charges because of the ongoing investigation (two defendants in the alleged ring still face charges), but that the case was dismissed "without prejudice."
That means the federal government could refile charges against McAuley, Harvey said.
"We dropped complaint, but have we have leave to pursue additional charges if circumstances warrant," Harvey said.
McAuley's Rochester-based attorney said he doesn't think that's going to happen.
"Donna McAuley's life has been in turmoil for more than a year, including the execution of a search warrant of her home," Robert Napier said. "In the end, the government concluded it does not have sufficient legal basis in which to pursue an indictment before a grand jury.
"My conclusion," Napier added, "is that the government did not have enough evidence to pursue any charges against Ms. Boon."
According to Napier and McAuley, no drugs were found in her home at Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road when it was searched as part of an early morning raid by local and federal law enforcement on July 13, 2010.
That day, local law enforcement and the DEA and FBI along with Bill Hochul, the U.S. Attorney for Western New York, held a press conference attended by region-wide media. They announced the arrests of McAuley along with Donald G. Vanelli, 47, of 8394 Lake St., Le Roy; David H. Cohen, 49, of 918 Goodman St., Rochester; Andrew W. Chapman, 40, of 5 Cedar St., Batavia; and Kerry A. Ball, 51, of 7202 Meadville Road, Basom.
Vanelli eventually entered a guilty plea. The former Road Agents motorcycle club president admitted to procuring from suppliers and distributing between 5 and 15 kilograms of methamphetamine from 2004 through July 2010.
He was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in federal prison.
The charges against two of the three other defendants are still pending (at time of posting, we didn't have details on which two).
McAuley has admittedly mixed feelings about media coverage of her case being dismissed.
She feels vindicated -- she is adamant that she was not involved in any meth dealing and was not criminally associated with Vanelli, whom she characterized as a friend of 15 years.
She would also just like the case to go away, get her life back and not draw further public attention to her name.
And her name has drawn some attention.
It's been part of media reports every time Vanelli's case has made it through the federal court system.
It came up again when her husband, 62-year-old James Henry McAuley Jr. (aka "Mitch") was charged in a racketeering case stemming from the baseball-bat beating of a man in Rochester more than five years ago and an alleged plot to murder members of a potential rival motorcycle gang.
According to federal authorities, Mitch McAuley, who is currently confined to Elkton Federal Corrections Facility in Elkton, Ohio, on other charges, is vice president of the Rochester Hells Angels.
Donna McAuley said that even with her ties to Mitch McAuley and Donald Vanelli, she herself has never been involved in criminal activity. She has held down respectable, professional jobs for most of her adult life, she said, and she came to Genesee County 15 years ago to establish a reputation for herself as a good citizen.
The case against McAuley was apparently based entirely on wiretaps that recorded conversations between her and Vanelli. FBI agents claimed McAuley and Vanelli used a coded language to arrange for meetings to exchange drugs and/or cash. For example, there was one time when Vanelli, supposedly out of meth to sell, received a call from McAuley.
According to the transcript, McAuley said, "I, um, what did I want last night, oh geez, I don't know, oh my friggin', I, can you stop by today and check my lawn mower? This mornin'?"
Agents took that to mean that McAuley had acquired a supply of meth.
Vanelli allegedly went to McAuley's house later that morning and when returned to his own home in Le Roy, allegedly arranged for a customer to make a buy.
McAuley said her contact and conversations with Vanelli were never about drugs. There was no coded language. Vanelli was just a longtime friend.
Robert Napier said his client is "an innocent, hard-working professional."