Skip to main content
Press Release

Two Defendants Indicted In Cocaine Ring

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, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Harold Alexis Ortiz Cosme, 21, and Luis G. Candelario, 25, both of Puerto Rico, with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine. The charge carries a minimum penalty of 5 years in prison, a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, and a $5,000,000 fine. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Watkins, Jr., who is handling the case, stated that the indictment arises out of a postal interdiction in Puerto Rico that resulted the seizure of 1 kilogram of cocaine. The package was addressed to “Harold Ortiz” at 192 Grant Street, Buffalo, NY, 14213. A joint operation between the Postal Inspection Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration involving a controlled delivery was conducted targeting 192 Grant Street. That operation yielded information leading to the defendants.

On February 12, 2020, a controlled delivery of a package containing sham cocaine was conducted at 192 Grant Street, Buffalo, NY, 14213. Defendant Candelario accepted the package and took it inside of the residence. Moments later, defendants Candelario and Ortiz Cosme, along with a third man came out of the residence and got into two cars, a Grey Nissan Altima and a Blue KIA Optima. Ortiz Cosme placed the package with the sham cocaine into the trunk of the KIA Optima, which he was driving. The two vehicles were then stopped by law enforcement and the package with the sham cocaine was recovered from the vehicle of Ortiz Cosme.

Subsequently, law enforcement executed a search warrant on the residence. The residence was devoid of furniture, save for a chair located at a window that had a clear view of the sidewalk and the mailbox.

The defendants had placed a portion of a postal sticker on the mailbox outside of the residence with the name “Harold Ortiz” written on it. Another portion of the postal sticker was placed on the front door of the residence and it had “leave mail here” written on it.  The remainder of the postal sticker was found in the defendants’ vehicles.  

The defendants were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr.   Defendants were released on conditions. 

The indictment is the result of a joint investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Joseph W. Cronin of the Boston Division and the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan.

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. 

# # # #


Updated March 13, 2020

Drug Trafficking