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Press Release

Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty To Heroin And Fentanyl Charges

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

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.—Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Francis Tessina, 45, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimentel, who is handling the case, stated that on March 9, 2015, the defendant sold heroin and fentanyl to an individual cooperating with law enforcement. The following day, as Tessina was again preparing to sell heroin and fentanyl to the same person, he was arrested. 

According to a previously filed complaint, on February 28, 2015, law enforcement officers investigated the apparent opioid overdose of a man in Hamburg, NY. During the investigation, officers discovered a cellular telephone that belonged to the individual. Text messages exchanged between him and an individual identified as John Haak revealed that the man received what was purported to be heroin from Haak shortly before his body was discovered. Further investigation revealed that Haak delivered fentanyl, purchased from Tessina, to the man late in the afternoon of February 28, 2015. Haak also sent text messages to him warning him to be careful with the heroin because Haak believed it contained fentanyl.            
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division, the Hamburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gregory Wickett, and the Evans Police Department, under the direction of Chief Douglas Czora.           

Sentencing is scheduled for July 12, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Vilardo. 

Updated March 30, 2017