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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 29, 2019

Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty For His Role In Drug Trafficking Organization

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Omar Vazquez-Baez, a/k/a Tutu, 26, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of, five kilograms or more of cocaine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura A. Higgins, who is handling the case, stated that between July 2017 and September 29, 2017, the defendant conspired with others to distribute cocaine in the Niagara Falls area for a drug trafficking organization led by co-defendant Cesar Rivera-Figueroa. Vazquez-Baez regularly distributed quantities of cocaine to customers on behalf of the Rivera-Figueroa organization.

On September 13, 2017, investigators intercepted a phone call between Rivera-Figueroa and the defendant. After contacting some of his co-defendants, Rivera-Figueroa told Vazquez-Baez, “I have some lockers for you to take a look at. I already gave six, but for you to see them and offer them around. . . .I’m like a display cabinet right now.” The defendant then met with Rivera-Figueroa and collected several packaged quantities of cocaine. Later that day, Vazquez-Baez called Rivera-Figueroa to ask for more cocaine. During the conversation, the defendant asked Rivera-Figueroa for more cocaine, but Rivera-Figueroa indicated he was out of supply. In response, Vazquez-Baez stated “damn, I had half for today and it was already gone over night, bastard!” explaining that he had a half-kilogram of cocaine and sold it quickly. Vazquez-Baez then stated “I have 3 chickens for sure,” indicating that he had customers prepared to purchase 375 grams of cocaine.

The defendant was arrested on September 29, 2017, inside his residence on 7th Street in Buffalo. During the execution of a search warrant, investigators recovered a .22 caliber firearm; ammunition; multiple quantities of suspected cocaine and marijuana; drug paraphernalia including a vacuum sealer and bag, razors, scales, metal press, cut, and packaging material; and numerous cell phones.

Vazquez-Baez is one of 12 defendants charged in this case and the ninth to be convicted.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood; and the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Edward Kennedy.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 22, 2020, before Judge Vilardo.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated August 29, 2019