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Two Buffalo women indicted, charged with cocaine conspiracy

STAFF REPORTS


BUFFALO -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Maylin Santiago, 25, and Rosa Merced, 39, both of Buffalo, NY, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, and possession and attempted possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute. The charges carry a mandatory minimum five years in prison, a maximum penalty of 40 years, and a $5,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles J. Volkert, Jr., who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment, between November 2017 and April 2018, the defendants conspired to possess and sell cocaine. On at least two occasions in March 2019, Santiago and Merced obtained or attempted to obtain postal packages from Puerto Rico that contained kilograms of cocaine. Additionally, in January 2018, Santiago sold cocaine to an individual working with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Santiago and Merced were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroder and released on conditions.

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division; the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Joseph W. Cronin of the Boston Division; the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Edward Kennedy; and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood.

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. 

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