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(6:30 PM) Leader Of Local Drug Organization Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy Charge

A Celoron man and reported leader of a local drug organization pleaded guilty Wednesday to a drug conspiracy charge, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The plea for 47-year-old Sigfredo Martinez was made before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara in Buffalo. The charge, conspiracy to distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin, carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura A. Higgins and Jeremiah E. Lenihan, who are handling the case, stated that beginning in early 2016, Martinez allegedly led a drug organization responsible for distributing heroin and cocaine in the Jamestown area. Martinez appointed Bryan Ferrer-Vazquez to be responsible for the “day shift” transactions, while another man, Alex Mercado, distributed during the “night shift.”

Every few days, Martinez would distribute a couple hundred bundles of heroin each to Ferrer-Vazquez and Mercado who were then tasked with distributing the heroin to smaller dealers and users. The proceeds were collected by an uncharged co-conspirator, who turned over the proceeds to the Celoron man.

Martinez utilized a second uncharged co-conspirator to distribute quantities of cocaine and heroin.

Between Feb. 11, 2016, and March 2, 2017, investigators conducted at least eight controlled purchases of heroin or cocaine from Ferrer-Vazquez and Mercado.

On April 6, 2017, a federal search warrant was executed at Martinez’s residence at 32 E. Duquesne St. in Celeron. Investigators seized nine cellphones, two electronic tablets, a laptop computer, a notebook and a GPS device.

The same day, another search warrant was executed at 385 Buffalo St. in Jamestown. Investigators seized 19 cellphones, a quantity of suspected cocaine, a quantity of suspected heroin, $2,994 U.S. currency, three ledger notebooks, and a scale. A loaded semi-automatic handgun was found in the detached garage.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the FBI Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit performed an analysis on the ledgers and several loose pieces of paper recovered. The analysis determined that the organization was distributing “bundles” of heroin for a price of $75 to $80. Further, the analysis found that “on Jan. 28, 2016, and between June 22, 2016, and April 5, 2017, the business distributed a minimum total of 8,106 bundles of heroin to approximately 28 separate accounts for a minimum total of $83,150. Eight thousand bundles equates to approximately 8 kilograms of heroin.

Ferrer-Vazquez and Mercado were previously convicted. Ferrer-Vazquez is awaiting sentencing. Mercado was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Division, the Jamestown Police Department and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 26 at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.