BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Harold Alexis Ortiz Cosme, 22, of Puerto Rico, and Luis G. Candelario, 26, of Buffalo, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Watkins, who is handling the case, stated that on February 7, 2020, a federal search warrant was executed on a suspicious parcel in Puerto Rico addressed to “Harold Ortiz.” The package contained approximately one kilogram of cocaine, which was replaced with sham and sent on to its destination. On February 12, 2020, a controlled delivery of the package was conducted at a residence on Grant Street in Buffalo, which was rented by defendant Candelario in furtherance of the conspiracy. Candelario received the package, then got into a vehicle and took the package to defendant Cosme, who placed it in the trunk of his vehicle. Investigators conducted a traffic stop of both vehicles and recovered the parcel. A search of the Grant Street residence found the apartment devoid of any furniture, except for a chair located at a window with a clear view of the street and mailbox, indicating that the sole purpose of the apartment was to possess narcotics in furtherance of the conspiracy. The defendants were subsequently arrested.
The pleas are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Boston Division Inspector-in-Charge Joseph W. Cronin, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan.
Defendants Cosme and Candelario will be sentenced on June 7 and June 9, 2021, respectively, both before Judge Sinatra.