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Justice News

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Federal Jury Convicts Two Defendants Of Narcotics And Money Laundering Conspiracies

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

BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal jury has convicted Martha Aguirre, 47, of Orange, California, and Juan Alfaro, 54, of Hacienda, California, of narcotics conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia Astorga and Wei Xiang, who handled the trial, stated that the defendants were members of a transnational drug trafficking organization that utilized contacts and a source of supply whose territory included Mexico, Arizona, California, and elsewhere. The source of supply was the Sinaloa Cartel, led by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada. Martha Aguirre’s brother Herman E. Aguirre was the leader of the organization. 

Martha Aguirre and Alfaro used “front” companies to launder over $12,000,000 in drug proceeds from Buffalo to Los Angeles, including Triton Foods, Inc. and Kamora Investment Enterprises, Inc., which were located in the State of California. Another fictitious company, Corral Seafoods, LLC, registered in the State of New York, was allegedly located in Cheektowaga, NY, but proved to be completely fake.

Using these companies, the defendants disguised kilogram quantities of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine described on invoice and other documents as “Sea Cucumbers.”  The local organization trafficked thousands of kilograms of illegal narcotics throughout the United States, including Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Buffalo.

During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers seized over $5,000,000 worth of illegal narcotics, including:

•           52.5 kilograms of cocaine;
•           17.5 kilograms of heroin; and
•           8.5 kilograms of fentanyl

 Using standard dosage amounts, the seized drugs potentially represented over 1,500,000 “hits” of cocaine, and 2,700,000 “hits” of heroin and considering that two milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose, enough fentanyl potentially to kill over four million people.

Martha Aguirre and Alfaro were indicted along with 15 others including:

• Herman E. Aguirre was convicted following a jury trial and is awaiting sentencing;
• Troy R. Gillon was convicted following a jury trial and is awaiting sentencing;
• Jose Ruben Gil, a/k/a Unc, a/k/a Ruben Gil Campos, a/k/a Mayor of Mexico, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
• Sonia Hernandez, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;  
• Margaret Banuelos, a/k/a Lisa, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
• Darryl J. Williams, a/k/a D, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
• Trent Adair Hamilton, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
• Michael Paul Mitchell, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
• Demetrius Yarborough, a/k/a Tu, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
• Rashawn Crule, a/k/a Black, a/k/a Shawn, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
• Maulana Lucas, a/k/a Big Daddy, a/k/a Shabazz, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
• Shirley Grigsby, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
• Ralik Hamilton; was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
• Dion Cheatham, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing; and
• Joseph Thompson, a/k/a Jo-Jo, a/k/a Skools, a/k/a Skoolboy, convicted and sentenced.

“Today’s verdict represents the coup de grace in the demise of a once flourishing, multi-million dollar, international drug trafficking conspiracy,” noted U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “The volume of drugs moved by this organization endangered the health and welfare of countless Americans, including many here in Western New York. I commend the work of the federal, state, and local law enforcement officers from across our country who, together with the tremendous prosecutors in this Office, worked tirelessly to deliver justice to 17 individuals who sought to deliver poison throughout our Nation.”

The verdict is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Jonathan D. Larsen, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Office; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division; Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special-Agent-in Charge Kevin Kelly; the Niagara County Drug Task Force, under the direction of Sheriff James Voutour; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood; the Lockport Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Steven Preisch; the Montebello, California Police Department, the Nebraska State Patrol, and the DEA, Los Angeles.

Both will be sentenced on a date to be determined before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo, who presided over the trial of the case. 

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Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Updated March 26, 2019