Man sen­tenced in drug ring tied to ‘El Chapo’

The Buffalo News - - WEATHER - By Keith McShea N E WS STA F F R EPORT ER

A Ni­a­gara Falls man was sen­tenced to 6½ years in prison for his role in a Western New York drug ring that had ties to king­pin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guz­man, U.S. At­tor­ney James P. Kennedy an­nounced.

Michael Mitchell, 38, had been con­victed of con­spir­acy to pos­sess with in­tent to dis­trib­ute 100 grams or more of heroin.

He was sen­tenced Tues­day to 78 months in prison by U.S. Dis­trict Judge Lawrence J. Vi­lardo.

Pros­e­cu­tors said that be­tween June 2013 and Septem­ber 2015, the de­fen­dant con­spired with oth­ers sell heroin, fen­tanyl and co­caine, and that specif­i­cally, Mitchell re­ceived heroin, co­caine and crack co­caine base from co-de­fen­dant Troy Gil­lon for dis­tri­bu­tion to other deal­ers in the Lock­port and Ni­a­gara Falls area.

Mitchell was charged along with 16 oth­ers – all of whom have been con­victed – who were mem­bers of a transna­tional drug traf­fick­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion, led by Her­man Aguirre, whose source of sup­ply was the Si­naloa Car­tel, led by Guzmán and Is­mael “El Mayo” Zam­bada.

Aguirre and Gil­lon, who were ac­cused of run­ning the Mexico-to-Cal­i­for­nia-to-Buf­falo drug net­work, were both con­victed on Dec. 20, 2018.

The case is one that in­ves­ti­ga­tors have called one of the largest lo­cal drug pros­e­cu­tions ever, in which pros­e­cu­tors say $5 mil­lion in il­le­gal drugs were seized.

Agents said the drug or­ga­ni­za­tion laun­dered its money by cre­at­ing fraud­u­lent sales records in­di­cat­ing it was dis­tribut­ing large amounts of sea cu­cum­bers in Buf­falo. Wit­nesses told of a ship­ment of 100 kilo­grams of co­caine that was sent to a house on Ni­a­gara Falls Boule­vard in the Town of Ton­awanda, one of at least 19 ship­ments so large, they re­quired pal­lets and a trac­tor­trailer.

Aguirre and Gil­lon will face manda­tory life sen­tences when sen­tenced by Vi­lardo in June.

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