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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dunkirk Man Pleads Guilty In Major Cocaine Conspiracy

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051 

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Angel Pierluissi pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, cocaine, before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

“This conviction demonstrates that illegal drugs are not confined to a single area of the country,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “At the same time, thanks to our invaluable partnerships with all levels of law enforcement, extraordinary successes in our fight against the scourge of these poisons are also possible.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that Pierluissi was a member of a drug trafficking organization led by co-defendants Rafael Burgos and David Jesus Pagan. The organization operated between 2013 and June 10, 2015. During that time, members distributed multiple kilograms of cocaine throughout the Dunkirk area.

Pierluissi was arrested in June of 2015 along with Burgos, Javier Pagan, Jr., David Jesus Pagan, Samuel Hernandez III, and Alvin Torres. Search warrants were executed at the time of the arrests at six properties which resulted in the recovery of more than seven kilograms of cocaine (the largest seizure ever in the City of Dunkirk) and approximately $175,000 in cash as well as an AR-15 assault rifle with a 30 round magazine. During a search of Burgos’ residence, officers discovered a secret room with a money counting machine. 

All defendants have been convicted except for David Jesus Pagan and Angel Pierluissi. 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 Office, the Dunkirk Police Department, under the direction of Chief David C. Ortolano, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy S. Whitcomb, and the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Patrick Swanson.

Sentencing will scheduled at a later date.

Updated July 1, 2016