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Two from Tonawanda arrested on cocaine charges

STAFF REPORTS


BUFFALO -- Iramarie Velez-Mateo, 36, of Tonawanda, and Osvaldo Rivera-Amaro, 47, of Tonawanda, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with attempted possession, with intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine. The charge carries a mandatory 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 Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on December 15, 2017, United States Postal Inspectors intercepted a package that contained over 2 kilograms of cocaine. The package was addressed to the defendant Iramarie Velez-Mateo.

On December 28, 2017, a controlled delivery of a package containing sham cocaine was conducted at this same Tonawanda address. Defendant Velez-Mateo accepted the package, took it inside the residence, and departed.  Approximately 30 minutes later, defendant Rivera-Amaro conducted counter-surveillance around the house in his black Audi.  After departing, Rivera-Amaro returned to the house with Velez-Mateo.  They obtained the package from the residence and placed it in the trunk of the vehicle.  Law enforcement surveilled the two defendants as they departed.  When Rivera-Amaro’s vehicle was stopped, the package with the sham cocaine was found inside.

Law enforcement subsequently executed a search warrant of the residence.  During the search, investigators located drug packaging materials and a digital scale.

Previously, on November 15, 2017, Postal Inspectors intercepted a package sent to the same address that contained about a quarter kilogram of cocaine.

The defendants made an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and were released.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Boston Division Inspector in Charge Shelly Binkowski and the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division.

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.