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Press Release

Utica Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Conspiracy and Distribution of Fentanyl

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

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Jose Morales, age 31, of Utica, New York, pled guilty yesterday to conspiring to distribute fentanyl and distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, announced United States Attorney Carla Freedman; Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division and Thomas Fattorusso, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), New York Field Office.

In pleading guilty Morales admitted that from May 2020 through October 2021, he acquired quantities of fentanyl from co-conspirators, which he then re-distributed to others in the Utica, New York area.  Morales admitted that during his participation in the conspiracy, the drug trafficking organization distributed over 400 grams of fentanyl. 

Sentencing is scheduled for December 7, 2023, in front of United States District Judge David N. Hurd.  Morales faces a minimum of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10 million, and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life. 

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE-ERO), the New York State Police (NYSP), the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, the Utica Police Department, the Syracuse Police Department, the Rome Police Department,  the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, the New York Army National Guard Counter Drug Program, the Yorkville Police Department, the Whitesboro Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Thomson.

Updated August 4, 2023

Drug Trafficking