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California man pleads guilty to drug conspiracy


BUFFALO -- Steven Bennett, 47 of Los Angeles, California, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, and conspiracy to commit money laundering before Senior U.S. District William M. Skretny. The charges carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that between July 2012, and January 18, 2013, the defendant conspired with others to distribute over 50 grams of methamphetamine and over 500 grams of cocaine. Bennett had the illegal narcotics shipped from California to Buffalo. The drugs would then be distributed in the Buffalo area. During that time frame, the Drug Enforcement Agency utilized and eavesdropping warrant to intercept phone calls between Bennett and his co-conspirators.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division, and  the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of James D. Robnett, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Office.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 29.