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Press Release

Buffalo Woman Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Heroin into Attica Correctional Facility

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

BUFFALO, N.Y.—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Elizabeth Camue Martinez, 33, of Buffalo, N.Y., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine or both.

“The willingness of some to commit crime does not end simply by presence inside prison,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “In this case, the vigilance of staff, law enforcement, and local prosecutors made this prosecution possible. Prison staff everywhere must continuously monitor their institutions so that inmates once and for all lose the ability to break the law.”

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, between April 2013 and December 2013, the defendant smuggled gram quantities of heroin and ounces of marijuana into the Attica Correctional Facility and provided it to her husband, Andres Martinez, who was at that time incarcerated in the facility, knowing that he would then distribute the heroin and marijuana to other inmates.

The investigation resulted from two overdose deaths that occurred at the Attica Correctional Facility on December 5, 2013. Saleem Ali, 51, was found unresponsive in his cell. Ali died from acute fentanyl intoxication. Glendon Jackson, 25, was found unresponsive in his cell. Jackson also died from acute fentanyl intoxication.

During the course of the investigation a third overdose death occurred. On September 16, 2013, Avery Cureton, 45, was found unresponsive in his cell. Cureton died from acute heroin intoxication.

As part of her plea, Camue Martinez admitted purchasing the heroin and marijuana from Jerome J. Tallington. The defendant, Andres Martinez and Tallington were charged in February 2014. Charges are pending against Andres Martinez and Jerome Tallington. 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 Acting Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Office, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Michael Cerretto, the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), under the direction of Major Wayne C. Olson, the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard, the Wyoming Country District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Donald O’Geen, and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, under the direction of Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 29, 2015 at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.
Updated November 19, 2014