Buffalo man pleads guilty to gun and drug charges
BUFFALO, N.Y.? U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Juan Lopez, 30, of Buffalo, N.Y., pleaded guilty to possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking activities and being a felon in possession of firearms before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that in 2008, the defendant began utilizing Pennsylvania residents as straw purchasers to buy firearms in exchange for money and cocaine. These firearms were then brought to Buffalo for the purpose of drug trafficking. Lopez was a convicted felon at the time and unable to legally purchase firearms in New York.
“This office has made fighting violent criminal organizations a top priority,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Sometimes those efforts require arresting gang members, as we have done on many occasions in the past. Another essential component, however, consists of arresting those who brings guns into the community where they end up in the hands of violent criminals.”
Lopez was arrested in September 2012 along with seven other defendants. A total of eight defendants have been convicted. He is currently serving 25 years in New York State prison for two previous attempted murder convictions.
The Indictment is the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Frank Christiano.