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Press Release

Buffalo Men Sentenced 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 Daniel Molina Rios a/k/a Ponce, 43, of Buffalo, NY, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of 100 grams or more of heroin, was sentenced to 201 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. In addition, Jose Andujar, 40, of Buffalo, NY, was sentenced to 188 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who handled the case, stated that between March 2014 and June 2015, the defendants conspired with Orlando Rios, Luis Montanez, and others to distribute heroin on the West Side of Buffalo. Rios headed and Andujar managed a wide-scale drug trafficking organization providing day-to-day supervision to several street-level dealers who used a series of cellular telephones to conduct daily heroin sales.

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

Rios exercised ultimate decision making authority and had complete authority over five or more other participants, including at least 10 drug “runners” who were responsible for coordinating sales for incoming customers and who contacted the drug trafficking organization on a “runner” phone each day. The defendant also maintained a premise at 74 Fillmore Avenue in Buffalo for distributing heroin. A search of that residence on June 18, 2015, recovered six cell phones, packaging materials for heroin, and $14,293.00, in U.S. currency representing the proceeds from heroin distribution.

Andujar, who maintained a premise at 620 Grant Street, Rear Lower in Buffalo for distributing heroin, also exercised decision-making authority over participants in the drug trafficking conspiracy. A search of that residence on June 18, 2015, recovered heroin, drug ledgers, and six cellular phones.

A total of 14 defendants have been indicted in connection with this case, eight have been 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 sentencings are 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.   

Updated November 6, 2017