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Press Release

California Man Pleads Guilty To Drug Traffciking Charge Involving Over 200 lbs. Of Cocaine

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 James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Armando Ernesto Abarca, 22, of Modesto, California, pleaded guilty, before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10,000,000 fine.   

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that between September 2014, and September 2016, the defendant conspired with others to possess and distribute cocaine. Specifically, the defendant utilized a storage unit in Amherst, NY to store 43 kilograms of cocaine. The defendant also distributed approximately 50 kilograms of cocaine in Columbus, OH during the course of this conspiracy.

The charges against co-defendant Raul Everado Ledesma Abarca remain pending. 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 on the part of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division; Immigration and Custom Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly; and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Office. Additional assistance was provided by ICE-HSI in Los Angeles, California.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 12, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Wolford.

Updated August 24, 2018