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Buffalo man pleads guilty to operating a cocaine conspiracy near a Buffalo school

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Aaron Hill, 31, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, a $5,000,000 fine, or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant conspired with Stevie Alejandro who operated the Barberians Barber Shop at 1132 East Lovejoy Street, which is located directly across from Buffalo Public School #43, the Lovejoy Discovery School. Between May 2017 and October 18, 2017, the defendant participated in the cocaine conspiracy with co-defendants Alejandro, Cleophus Dentmond, Gilbert Guzman, Catherine Ramos, and others, to distribute cocaine in the Lovejoy District.

During the conspiracy, Alejandro conducted negotiations with an undercover law enforcement officer regarding the sale, cost, amount, and delivery of cocaine. Then, Hill, or one of his co-conspirators, would conduct the drug transaction with the undercover officer. All proceeds went back to Alejandro. The defendant was involved in a total of 14 cocaine sales, either direct hand to hand sales, or by facilitating the distribution via other co-conspirators.

Defendants Alejandro and Dentmond were previously convicted. Charges are pending against defendants Guzman and Ramos. 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.

Today’s plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Division; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood; the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zak; and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard

Sentencing is scheduled for August 27, 2018, at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.