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Tonawanda man pleads guilty to cocaine charge

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Osvaldo Rivera-Amaro, 45, of Tonawanda, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that cocaine was shipped to the defendant from Puerto Rico through the U.S. Postal Service. On December 15, 2017, U.S. Postal inspectors seized a package containing just over two kilograms of cocaine that was addressed to Iramarie Velez on Crane Place in Tonawanda, NY. The cocaine was replaced with sham cocaine, and then the package was delivered on December 28, 2017. After Velez accepted the package, she left the residence but returned a few minutes later with Rivera-Amaro. Velez went back into 62 Crane Place, came back out with the package, and placed it in the back of the defendant’s vehicle. The defendant was subsequently detained, his vehicle was searched, and the package, containing the sham cocaine, was located in the trunk.
Charges are pending against Iramarie Velez. 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.  
The plea is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Boston Division Inspector-in-Charge Joseph W. Cronin, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division.
Sentencing is scheduled for January 15, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. before Judge Wolford.