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Rochester woman sentenced for role in cocaine conspiracy; another defendant pleads guilty

STAFF REPORTS

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Leitscha Poncedeleon, 29, of Rochester, NY, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine, was sentenced to 168 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci.

In addition, Freddie Silva-Otero, 49, of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine. The charge carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn M. Hartford, who is handling the case, stated that between April 2017 and January 29, 2018, the defendants conspired with Carlos Javier Figueroa, Roberto Figueroa, Obed Torres, Jonathan Cruz Carmona, and others, to distribute cocaine.

In furtherance of the conspiracy, Poncedeleon, on numerous occasions, communicated via telephone with Freddie Silva-Otero and other individuals in Puerto Rico to coordinate the shipment of cocaine from Puerto Rico to Rochester, via the United States Postal Service. Between September 9, 2017, and January 29, 2018, Poncedeleon and other conspirators coordinated at least 25 shipments of cocaine, each containing approximately two kilograms of cocaine. Silva-Otero personally assisted with shipping six packages containing two kilograms of cocaine each to Poncedeleon and Carlos Javier Figueroa between January 16, 2018, and January 24, 2018.  Poncedeleon and others sent money via the United States Postal Service and wire transfers from Rochester to Puerto Rico as payment for the cocaine. Poncedeleon also arranged for individuals in the Rochester area to receive the packages of cocaine. Once the packages arrived in Rochester, the individuals would contact Poncedeleon who would then notify co-conspirator Carlos Javier Figueroa.

Poncedeleon, Carlos Javier Figueroa, Roberto Figueroa, and others, maintained a residence located at 292 Barrington Street in Rochester for the purposes of storing, manufacturing, processing, and distributing cocaine. At that location, Poncedeleon, Carlos Javier Figueroa, Roberto Figueroa, and others regularly prepared and packaged cocaine for distribution. On January 29, 2018, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the residence and recovered approximately three kilograms of cocaine, $230,060 in cash, eight firearms, and numerous rounds of ammunition.

A total of 10 defendants have been charged in connection with this conspiracy, five have been convicted, and one has been sentenced.

Today’s plea and sentencing are the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Violent Crime Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan Benedict, New York Field Division; the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mark Simmons; the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Todd Baxter; the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney Sandra Doorley; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division; the Greece Police Department, under the direction of Chief Patrick Phelan; the Brighton Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mark Henderson; and U.S. Border Patrol, under the direction of Patrol Agent-in-Charge Gregory Johnson.