Skip to main content
Press Release

Illegal Alien Sentenced for Participation in Cocaine Conspiracy, Illegal Possession of a Firearm, and False Identification Documents

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

Defendant will be Subject to Deportation Proceedings after a 51 Month Prison Sentence


SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Chanel Garcia-Enrique, 37, a citizen of the Dominican Republic residing in Utica, New York, was sentenced yesterday to be imprisoned for 51 months, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The sentence followed Garcia-Enrique’s October 7, 2016 guilty pleas to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a false identification document, and making a false statement.


As part of his guilty pleas, Garcia-Enrique admitted that: In early 2016, Garcia-Enrique conspired with others to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine in the Utica area. At the time of his arrest, Garcia-Enrique was lying in bed with a loaded 20-gauge shotgun. When first questioned by law enforcement officers, Garcia-Enrique said his name was “Avelino Vargas” and that he was a United States citizen, born in Puerto Rico, when in fact, he was a citizen of the Dominican Republic and was in the United States illegally. Garcia-Enrique also possessed, at the time of his arrest, false identification documents, including a New York State driver’s license and two New York State identification cards, all in the name of “Avelino Vargas” and bearing the defendant’s photograph. Garcia-Enrique previously was convicted in Oneida County of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a felony.


United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said, “The serious crimes committed by this cocaine conspirator with a loaded shotgun who abused our immigration system underscore the importance of vigorous enforcement of these offenses to preserving public safety. The close collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that led to this sentence is the most effective way to secure justice.”


DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt stated, “The fact that Garcia-Enrique slept in his bed with a loaded 20-gauge shotgun is a reminder to the public that drug dealers are dangerous for more reasons than just distributing poison. Violent crime goes hand in hand with drug trafficking in every city. And in our city, DEA, along with our state, local and federal partners, have collaborated to remove these threats that lead to drug addiction and drug-related crimes.”


This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), the Oneida County Drug Task Force, the Department of Homeland Security - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Central New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl G. Eurenius and Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Grant Garramone, a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Updated April 14, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Identity Theft
Violent Crime