Skip to main content
Press Release

Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty To Retaliation Against A Witness

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.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Charles Hecht, 29, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to retaliation against a witness before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward H. White, who is handling the case, stated that Hecht was arrested along with co-defendants Jose Escalera and Giovanni Cotto for retaliating against a witness who testified in the matter of United States v. Jose Martinez, et al.

On May 23, 2014, Hecht assaulted the victim while in the recreational yard at the Cattaraugus County Jail. The defendant was instructed to do so by Escalera and Cotto who are alleged members of the Latin Kings Gang. Escalera and Cotto told Hecht that the individual was a snitch and asked the defendant to assault the individual in retaliation for his testimony against a fellow Latin Kings member. Hecht agreed because he was told that if he assaulted the individual then the Latin Kings would provide him with protection while the defendant was in prison.

Charges are pending against Escalera and Cotto. 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 James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 30, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.

Updated September 1, 2015