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Press Release

Buffalo man pleads guilty to lying during drug overdose investigation

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


BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Roman Lapp, 49, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer to obstruction of Justice, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that in June 2019, an individual known to law enforcement contacted Lapp, asking for narcotics. As a result, Lapp obtained heroin/fentanyl/acetyl fentanyl from his supplier, Steven Gonzalez, then delivered the narcotics to the individual’s residence. After using the heroin/fentanyl/acetyl fentanyl, the individual overdosed and died. Lapp was initially interviewed by the Buffalo Police Department, during which he identified the source of the narcotics as someone other than Steven Gonzalez. Lapp reiterated this information during a follow up interview with members of federal law enforcement. Later in the interview however, he admitted that he was not truthful about the identity of the source of the narcotics. Lapp then stated Steven Gonzalez was the actual source and that he lied to protect Gonzalez, among other reasons. Gonzalez was convicted and sentenced to serve 188 months in prison.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

The plea of the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Frank Tarantino, New York Field Division, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.

Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

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Barbara Burns


Updated May 14, 2024