BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Tuesday morning, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the indictment of 17 people involved in an international drug trafficking ring right here in Western New York. Some of the drugs involved in this massive bust include cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that the drug trafficking organization known used contacts and supplies from Mexico and California to smuggle thousands of pounds of narcotics to Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Buffalo.
The traffickers used a front named Triton Foods, Kamora Investment Enterprises, and Fresh Choice Produce. One of the front companies included Corral Seafoods, which was registered in Cheektowaga.
The defendants allegedly used sea-cucumbers to smuggles their goods.
United States Attorney William Hochul said, “In one instance alone, there was a seizure of cocaine, heroin, and fetanyl on Folger Street in the City of Buffalo.” Hochul said that raid resulted in the seizure of 48 pounds of cocaine, 4 pounds of heroin, and 7 pounds of fetanyl, valued at $1.1M.
U.S. Attorney Hochul said the investigation either recovered or identified more than $20M in drug trafficking proceeds.
“The amount of uses of heroin, and cocaine which did get through, the amount and the thousands of pounds which we know were brought into the Western New York area truly makes this case one of the largest that again, I have had the responsibility of even hearing about in my 25 years in Western New York.”
- Jose Ruben Gil
- Herman E. Aguirre
- Sonia Hernandez
- Martha Aguirre
- Juan Alfaro
- Margaret Banuelos
- Troy. R. Gillon
- Darryl J. Williams
- Trent Adair Hamilton
- Michael Paul Mitchell
- Demetrius Yarborough
- Rashawn Crule
- Maulana Lucas
- Shirley Grigsby
- Ralik Hamilton
- Joseph Thompson
- Dion Cheatham
The defendants face a slew of charges including engaging in a criminal enterprise, money laundering, distribution of narcotics, and criminal firearms possession.
MORE | See the indictment here.
Officials say one of the defendants, Herman Aguirre, has ties to Joaquin “El-Chapo” Guzman, the Mexican drug lord who famously escaped a prison in Mexico and was later recaptured.
Officials say the investigation continues.