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Press Release

Buffalo Men Plead 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 Mark Gonzalez, 22, and Michael Perez, 21, both of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $5,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Burgasser, who is handling the case, stated that between September 2014 and September 28, 2015, the defendants conspired with Hector Carattini and others to distribute heroin on the West Side of Buffalo. The investigation utilized court ordered wiretaps as well as undercover purchases conducted by the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) and the Buffalo Police Department.

The 10 defendants charged in this case were street-level distributors or “runners” in a heroin trafficking ring operated by Daniel Molina-Rios who was arrested in June 2015 along with Orlando Rios, Luis Montanez and Jose Andujar. The organization acquired heroin from the New York City area for distribution in Buffalo but also had an alternate heroin source locally.

A total of 14 defendants have been indicted in this case. Gonzalez and Perez are the fourth and fifth 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.   

Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentencing on September 8, 2017, at 1:30 p.m., Perez on September 11, 2017 at 12:30 p.m., both before Judge Arcara.

Updated June 2, 2017