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Press Release

Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty In Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

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 announced today that Orlando Rios, 45, a/k/a Fifo, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of one kilogram or more of heroin before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of 40 years in prison, and a $5,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who is handling the case, stated that between March 2014, and June 2015, the defendant conspired with Daniel Molina-Rios, Jose Andujar, Luis Montanez, and others, as part of a wide-scale drug trafficking organization that distributed heroin on the West Side of Buffalo. Rios headed the organization and supervised several street-level dealers who used a series of cellular telephones to conduct daily sales with customers seeking to buy heroin or illegal use.

During the conspiracy, the defendant made at least six trips to the New York City area to obtain large quantities of heroin from a source of supply, purchasing at least 300 grams of heroin on each trip. In addition, during the time period of the conspiracy, the Buffalo Police Department and New York State Police conducted 66 undercover heroin purchases from individuals subordinate to the defendant in the organization.

The defendant also maintained a premise, located at 42 Potomac Avenue in Buffalo, for the purpose of distributing heroin. During the execution of a search warrant at that residence on June 18, 2015, law enforcement officers recovered a digital scale, glassine bags, rubber bands, one Cricket cellular telephone, one black Verizon phone, $4,510.00 in cash, and a Colt .380 pistol loaded with live automatic rounds in the magazine.

A total of 14 defendants have been indicted in connection with this case, and Rios is the ninth to be convicted. Charges are pending against the remaining defendants. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division; the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), under the direction of Major David Krause and Lieutenant Kevin Reyes, CNET West Commander; and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.   

Sentencing is scheduled for December 14, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Geraci.

Updated September 12, 2017