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Buffalo man and woman arrested for attempting to retrieve cocaine mailed from Puerto Rico

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Brendaliz Escalante, 28, and Jerry Louis Rolon-Alvarez, 39, both of Buffalo, NY, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with attempt to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The charge carries a minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan T. Cullinane, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service intercepted a package shipped from Puerto Rico to an address in Buffalo. A search warrant was executed on the package and revealed, hidden inside the parcel, more than three kilograms of suspected cocaine.

U.S. Postal Inspection Service removed the cocaine from the package and replaced it with sham. On June 18, 2018, law enforcement officers delivered the package to the residence, where both Escalante and Rolon-Alvarez arrived to retrieve the package.  Following their retrieval of the package, both defendants were arrested.

The defendants made an initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer.  Rolon-Alvarez detained and Escalante released with conditions.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly, and the United States Postal Service Inspection Service, Boston Division, under the direction of Acting Inspector-in-Charge Delany E. De Leon-Colon.

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.