Five Defendants Plead Guilty In Connection With Cocaine And Heroin Ring In Buffalo
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that five defendants pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford in connection with a cocaine and heroin trafficking ring on the West Side of Buffalo. Entering guilty pleas:
• Defendants Gonzalo Velazquez Cabrera and Orlando Lanzo-Manso both pleaded guilty to discharge of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. Cabrera also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $250,000 fine.
• Raul Ortiz and Josue Diaz Rodriguez pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
• Eunhe Choi pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth T. Molisani, who is handling the case, stated that between March 2015 and December 2015, defendant Gonzalo Velazquez Cabrera was the leader and conspired with Orlando Lanzo-Manso, Raul Ortiz, and Josue Diaz Rodriguez, to sell cocaine in Buffalo, mainly on the west side. Velazquez Cabrera purchased and distributed approximately 125 grams of cocaine every week, beginning in the summer of 2015 and continuing until December of 2015. The defendant obtained, stored, and distributed cocaine at his residence on West Delavan Avenue in Buffalo. The defendant supplied co-defendants Lanzo-Manso, Diaz Rodriguez, and Raul Ortiz with cocaine so they could conduct street-level narcotics sales. The defendant also personally engaged in the daily sale of varying quantities of cocaine both at his residence and on the streets.
In August of 2015, Velazquez Cabrera became embroiled in a feud with a rival drug dealer who also operated on the west side of Buffalo. Following verbal arguments that centered on the defendant’s encroachment into the drug dealing territory of his rival, Velazquez Cabrera escalated the conflict to violence. On August 27, 2015, the defendant, accompanied in his vehicle by co-defendant Lanzo-Manso, pulled up alongside a vehicle occupied by the rival drug dealer at which time Lanzo-Manso fired the gun at the rival drug dealer. The rival drug dealer fired back. Velazquez Cabrera and the rival drug dealer sped off in their vehicles. In a text message exchange that followed between the defendant and the rival drug dealer, Velazquez Cabrera declared the rival drug dealer was a dead man.
Defendant Choi was the girlfriend of Velazquez Cabrera and resided with him on West Delavan Avenue in Buffalo. Choi knew that Velazquez Cabrera was engaged in trafficking narcotics. She also possessed marijuana.
Today’s plea is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert.
Josue Diaz Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced on March 29, 2019; Eunhe Choi on April 4, 2019, Orlando Lanzo-Manso and Raul Ortiz on April 5, 2019, and sentencing for Gonzalo Velazquez Cabrera will be scheduled at a later date.
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