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Buffalo man sentenced in heroin tracking conspiracy

STAFF REPORTS


BUFFALO -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy announced today that Orlando Rios, 45, of Buffalo, NY, was sentenced to 188 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of 100 grams or more of heroin before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. The charge carried a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, and a $5,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who handled the case, stated that between March 2014 and June 2015, the defendant conspired with Daniel Molina-Rios, Jose Andujar, Luis Montanez, and others to distribute heroin on the West Side of Buffalo. Rios managed a wide-scale drug trafficking organization and supervised several street-level dealers who used a series of cellular telephones to conduct daily sales with customers seeking to buy heroin or illegal use.

During the conspiracy, the defendant made at least six trips to the New York City area to purchase large quantities of heroin from a source of supply, purchasing at least 300 grams of heroin on each trip. In addition, during the time period of the conspiracy, the Buffalo Police Department and New York State Police conducted 66 undercover heroin purchases from individuals subordinate to the defendant in the organization.

Rios exercised decision making authority over participants in the drug trafficking conspiracy, including at least 10 drug “runners” who were responsible for coordinating sales for incoming customers who contacted the drug trafficking organization on a “runner” phone each day. The defendant also maintained a premise at 42 Potomac Avenue in Buffalo for distributing the heroin that was sold. A search of the residence on June 18, 2015, revealed a digital scale, glassine bags, rubber bands, two cellular telephones, $4510.00 in U.S. currency, and a Colt .380 pistol loaded with four live automatic rounds in the magazine.

A total of 14 defendants have been indicted in connection with this case, and Rios is the ninth to be sentenced.

The sentencing 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.