A social media video, a police raid and a court fight over $100K found in a shoebox, purse and suitcase

The first of Keyon Miller’s social media videos spotted by law enforcement in 2018 showed him posing with a chrome revolver, among the evidence that led to a police raid and his jail sentence.

Then came his online video three years later. 

He’s seen flaunting a wad of cash with a Beretta in his waistband – while on supervised release after his felony conviction – prompting another police raid and another jail stint.

But the newer video could exact an added, steep cost – $100,090 to be precise.

That’s how much FBI agents, probation officers and U.S. marshals seized during a search of his Schiller Park neighborhood home on Oct. 19, 2021, according to a court filing in U.S. District Court in Buffalo.

The government wants to keep the money, contending the abundance of $20 bills – 1,792 of them, totaling $35,840 – are the proceeds of street-level narcotics trafficking. The seized money also included 399 $100 bills and 479 $50 bills, among other denominations.

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The criminal consequences of Miller’s social media video in 2021 ended in March with his sentence of time served, amounting to five months, plus more time on supervised release.

Now, Miller’s mother, Cheryl Miller, has put in a claim for the seized money, setting up a civil case in federal court that has her lawyer and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office negotiating how much the government should keep and how much it should return from the raid.

“Some of the money probably belonged, I believe, to (her); some belonged to others that may have been in the house,” Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. told U.S. District Judge William Skretny at a court hearing last week.

Assistant U.S. attorneys and the mother’s lawyer will review police reports and photos of the raid to identify where the money was found in the house and then decide “how to split that money up appropriately for those that were innocent homeowners versus those to whom the government believes it can attribute the funds to narcotics trafficking,” Kennedy said.

Kevin Spitler, the mother’s lawyer, said she wants all the money returned to her.

Spitler told the judge he anticipates a settlement in the next month with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“We can go over all the photographs on how the search was conducted and also to confirm … the parties involved in criminality that caused this search to be executed,” Spitler said in court.

Whatever money prosecutors end up keeping can be credited to the social media posts that triggered the raid.

Keyon Miller resided at the Rogers Avenue home with his mother while on supervised release when the U.S. Probation Office obtained social media videos of Miller “dancing with large amounts of United States currency and a firearm,” according to the court filing. Miller also appeared in the videos with a convicted felon, which also violated the terms of his supervised release, prosecutors said.

Miller filmed himself talking about the gang lifestyle while displaying the firearm, according to court papers. In the video, Miller dances with the firearm on his waistband, carrying huge wads of money and singing the lyrics to a rap song titled “Sharing Locations” by Meek Mill, including the chorus: “I hang with all the murderers. I’m payin’ all the lawyers for the murderers.”

Federal agents arrested Miller during the raid on a charge of violating the terms of his supervised release.

They found a shotgun in an upstairs bedroom, a 9 mm Beretta Nano handgun loaded with eight rounds of ammunition in a downstairs closet, currency in a shoebox and purse in a downstairs bedroom, and more currency in a suitcase in a downstairs bedroom, according to court records. The agents also reported finding a large bag of cocaine in a purse in a closet and another bag in a bin in the closet.

It’s not the first time a social media video featuring Miller led to a police raid. The social media video of Miller holding the chrome revolver was among the reasons police raided a house in September 2018, prosecutors said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Buffalo Police Department raided an Easton Avenue home in the Kenfield neighborhood. The Buffalo police SWAT team entered the residence. At the rear of the house, agents saw a loaded .357 caliber revolver thrown from a rear upper window. When SWAT members reached the upper floor, Keyon Miller was found coming out of the room from which the firearm was thrown out the window, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

After that raid, Miller and his brothers Kevin Miller and Kaylen Miller were charged with maintaining the Easton Avenue house as a place to distribute marijuana and unlawfully possessing firearms.

Keyon Miller in March 2020 pleaded guilty to being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm, and he was sentenced to serve two years, which he did in a local jail, followed by two years of supervised release.

His brother Kaylen Miller pleaded guilty to the same charge in June 2019 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, while his brother Kevin Miller in July 2020 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and was sentenced to five years in prison.

A court filing by an ATF agent during the 2018 case said the Buffalo Police Department and Erie County Crime Analysis Center identified the three Miller brothers as members of the Alma Gang, a neighborhood street gang.

But Keyon Miller disputed that characterization in letters to U.S. District Judge Lawrence Vilardo, who sentenced him to time served after the 2021 arrest.

Keyon Miller said that during his probation after the 2018 arrest he spent more than 425 days without any police run-ins or testing positive for drugs, and held a job for much of that time.

“But I’m supposed to be this gang member,” he said in one letter to the judge. “I was on a case with my two brothers. We are not a gang. We’re family.”

In a second letter to the judge he wrote, “I’m being painted as this bad and dangerous guy that I am not.”

Neither of his letters explains the firearms, drugs and cash found in the 2021 raid in the Rogers Avenue home.

He did explain associating with another felon in the video.

“I did in fact associate with my long-term friend, that got on probation while I was in the county jail,” he told the judge. “I did not know he was a felon when I went to his house with him to check on a chicken he had in a air fryer.

“If I was this bad guy I would have been doing the drugs they say I’m addicted to,” he wrote the judge. “If I was dangerous I would of had some type of contact with the law in 440 days.”

He called it unfair to be portrayed “as a bad guy for the one felony I have.”

“From the age of 16 to 21, I was young and had many arrests, but I am 29 now,” he told the judge. “How long should I be penalized for things I did as a kid.”

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