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Press Release

Dunkirk Man Pleads Guilty To Cocaine Charge

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, NY—U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Hector Santos-Morales, 32, of Dunkirk, NY, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5,000,000 fine. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that in June 2020, a United States Postal Inspector executed a federal search warrant on a parcel from Puerto Rico addressed to “Hector D. Santos” on Beaver Street in Dunkirk, NY. During the search, the Postal Inspector seized approximately one kilogram of suspected cocaine. On June 29, 2020, investigators replaced the cocaine with “sham” and conducted a controlled delivery of the parcel to the Beaver Street address. After a device inside the parcel alerted investigators that it has been opened, law enforcement approached the residence and took Santos into custody. 

The plea is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Ketty Larco-Ward of the Boston Division, the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Frank A. Tarentino III, New York Field Division, and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, under the direction of the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb. 

Sentencing is scheduled for September 2, 2022, before Judge Vilardo.    

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Updated April 10, 2023

Drug Trafficking