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Former UB student pleads guilty in Xanax/Bitcoin case

BUFFALO -- A 20-year-old Queens man pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of, controlled substances and money laundering conspiracy. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

According to U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr., it was "a case where virtual meets real. ... However, as a result of today’s conviction, a crime committed in part in the virtual world will now result in a real world punishment.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wei Xiang, who is handling the case, stated that Zhe Wang, a former student at the University at Buffalo, distributed Xanax. The proceeds of the Xanax sales were used to buy or attempt to buy approximately $74,000 in Bitcoins. The defendant then used the Bitcoins to buy more drugs for distribution. Wang was an engineering student at the University at Buffalo during a part of the conspiracy between March 2015 and March 2016. In March 2016, law enforcement agents intercepted two packages mailed from Canada and addressed to one of Wang’s co-defendants in Amherst. Each package contained nearly 3,000 Xanax bars.

Wang was charged along with co-defendants Kevin Szura and Adam Brzozowski. Charges are pending against Szura and Brzozowski. 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 Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero, and the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Shelly Binkowski.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 30.





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