City Man Pleads Guilty To Selling Heroin

A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to selling heroin, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Alex Mercado, 39, made the plea in front of U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to a charge of conspiracy to distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10 million fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura A. Higgins, who is handling the case, stated that beginning in early 2016, Mercado served as one of the primary mid-level distributors of heroin and cocaine for the Sigfredo Martinez drug organization. Mercado was responsible for the “night shift” transactions, while his “co-defendant,” Bryan Ferrer-Vazquez, distributed during the “day shift.”

Mercado would reportedly receive a couple hundred bundles of heroin from Martinez every few days and was tasked with distributing it to smaller dealers and users. The Jamestown man would then turn over the proceeds to Martinez and take payment for his role in the distribution. Mercado also directed Ferrer-Vazquez to distribute heroin to specific customers and would collect the proceeds earned by Ferrer-Vazquez on behalf of Martinez.

During this period of time, Mercado occasionally worked with other uncharged co-conspirators to process bulk quantities of heroin and repackage it for retail sale.

Between Nov. 3, 2016, and March 2, 2017, the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted four controlled purchases of heroin with the defendant. On April 6, 2017, federal search warrants were executed at 385 Buffalo St., the residence of Bryan Ferrer-Vazquez, and 32 Duquesne St., the residence of Sigfredo Martinez. At each location, officers seized numerous ledgers and paper records of drug transactions. A federal search warrant was also executed at Mercado’s residence at 1083 N. Main St. in Jamestown where approximately 10 ounces of marijuana and several suboxone strips were recovered.

Charges are pending against Sigfredo Martinez and Bryan Ferrer-Vazquez.

“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 U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 28, 2019, at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.