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Falls man pleads guilty to drug charge after officers find 5 kilograms of cocaine in his car

STAFF REPORTS


BUFFALO -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jose Garcia-Santiago, 61, of Niagara Falls, NY, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Adler, who is handling the case, stated that in September 2017, the U.S. Postal Service intercepted packages arriving from Puerto Rico and addressed to various residences in Niagara Falls, NY. Postal inspectors seized approximately five kilograms of cocaine that were intended for Santiago and his co-conspirators. One of the packages was addressed directly to the defendant’s home address.  Another was addressed to the home of Katherine Dejesus-Gonzalez.

Thereafter, beginning on May 8, 2018, investigators intercepted numerous conversations involving the defendant discussing cocaine trafficking and the associated proceeds. Many of those conversations were with co-conspirator Edgar Joel Jimenez-Rodriguez.

On May 26, 2018, the New York State Police stopped the vehicle the defendant was driving. Co-conspirator Katherine Dejesus-Gonzalez was a passenger. Troopers seized five kilograms of cocaine from the vehicle.
Edgar Joel Jimenez-Rodriguez has been convicted and is awaiting sentencing.  Charges remain pending against Katherine Dejesus-Gonzalez. 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 Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division, the Niagara Falls Police Department, under the direction of Superintendent Thomas Licata, and the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), under the direction of Lieutenant Kevin Reyes and Major Mary Clark.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 17, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Geraci.

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