(5:37 PM) City Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Heroin Distribution Ring
BUFFALO — U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. announced Monday that 40-year-old Alex Mercado of Jamestown, who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin, was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.
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 admitted that he was responsible for the “night shift” transactions, and stated that his co-defendant, Bryan Ferrer-Vazquez, distributed during the “day shift.”
Mercado reportedly admitted that he received a couple hundred bundles of heroin from Martinez every few days and was tasked with distributing it to smaller dealers and users. Mercado said he would then turn over the proceeds to Martinez and take payment for his role in the distribution. The city man also directed co-defendant 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 Mercado. 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, law enforcement 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.
Bryan Ferrer-Vazquez was previously convicted and is awaiting sentencing. Charges remain pending against Sigfredo Martinez.
“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,” Kennedy said.
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the DEA, the Jamestown Police Department and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force.