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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 7, 2018

Dunkirk Man Pleads Guilty To Selling Cocaine

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Fred Santiago, 30, of Dunkirk, NY, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of, five kilograms or more of cocaine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life and a $10,000,000 fine.

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who is handling the case, stated that between July 2016 and May 2, 2017, the defendant conspired with co-defendant Michael Pacheco to distribute kilogram quantities of cocaine in and around the Western District of New York. Santiago obtained the cocaine from a source of supply in New York City for sale and distribution to others.

On May 2, 2017, a state search warrant was executed at the defendant’s residence on Lincoln Avenue in Dunkirk. Approximately 640 grams of cocaine was seized from a safe, and approximately 39 grams of marijuana was seized from the kitchen counter. In addition, law enforcement officers seized four drug scales, $44,000 in cash, $2,000 in money orders, a heat sealer, plastic bags, and a metal kilo drug press.

Charges are pending against co-defendant Michael Pacheco. 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 culmination of an investigation by the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, under the direction of Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division; the Evans Police Department, under the direction of Chief Douglas Czora; the Dunkirk Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Ortolano; and the Chautauqua County Drug Task Force, under the direction of Sheriff Joseph Gerace.

Sentencing is scheduled for September 20, 2018, before Judge Geraci. 

Updated June 8, 2018