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Buffalo man pleads guilty in heroin trafficking conspiracy


BUFFALO -- Maikel Gonzalez, 20, of Buffalo, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $1,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Burgasser, who is handling the case, stated that between January 2015, and September 28, 2015, the defendant conspired with Daniel Molina Rios, Orlando Rios, Jose Andujar, Luis Montanez, and others to distribute heroin on the West Side of Buffalo. The investigation utilized undercover purchases conducted by the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) and the Buffalo Police Department.

Gonzalez was a street-level distributors or “runner” in a heroin trafficking ring operated by Daniel Molina-Rios. The organization acquired heroin from the New York City area for distribution in Buffalo but also had an alternate heroin source locally.

A total of 14 defendants have been indicted in connection with this case, and  Gonzalez is the sixth to be convicted. Charges are pending against the remaining defendants. 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 the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division; the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), under the direction of Major David Krause and Lieutenant Kevin Reyes, CNET West Commander; and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.  

Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentencing on October 2, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.