March 26, 2019
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Two members of trafficking organization convicted on money laundering and drug charges
Martha Aguirre and Juan Alfaro used “front” companies to launder over $12,000,000 in drug proceeds from Buffalo to Los Angeles
BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., and DEA New York Division Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan announced that that a federal jury has convicted Martha Aguirre, 47, of Orange, Calif., and Juan Alfaro, 54, of Hacienda, Calif., of narcotics conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia Astorga and Wei Xiang, who handled the trial, stated that the defendants were members of a transnational drug trafficking organization that utilized contacts and a source of supply whose territory included Mexico, Arizona, California and elsewhere. The source of supply was the Sinaloa Cartel, led by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada. Martha Aguirre’s brother, Herman E. Aguirre, was the leader of the organization.
Martha Aguirre and Alfaro used “front” companies to launder over $12,000,000 in drug proceeds from Buffalo to Los Angeles, including Triton Foods, Inc., and Kamora Investment Enterprises, Inc., which were located in the State of California. Another fictitious company, Corral Seafoods, LLC, registered in the State of New York, was allegedly located in Cheektowaga, N.Y., but proved to be completely fake.
Using these companies, the defendants disguised kilogram quantities of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine described on invoice and other documents as “Sea Cucumbers.” The local organization trafficked thousands of kilograms of illegal narcotics throughout the United States, including Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Buffalo.
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers seized over $5,000,000 worth of illegal narcotics, including:
- 52.5 kilograms of cocaine
- 17.5 kilograms of heroin and
- 8.5 kilograms of fentanyl
Using standard dosage amounts, the seized drugs potentially represented over 1,500,000 “hits” of cocaine, 2,700,000 “hits” of heroin and, considering that two milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose, enough fentanyl potentially to kill over four million people.
Martha Aguirre and Alfaro were indicted along with 15 others including:
- Herman E. Aguirre was convicted following a jury trial and is awaiting sentencing;
- Troy R. Gillon was convicted following a jury trial and is awaiting sentencing;
- Jose Ruben Gil, aka Unc, aka Ruben Gil Campos, aka Mayor of Mexico, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Sonia Hernandez, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Margaret Banuelos, aka Lisa, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Darryl J. Williams, aka D, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Trent Adair Hamilton, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Michael Paul Mitchell, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Demetrius Yarborough, aka Tu, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Rashawn Crule, aka Black, aka Shawn, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Maulana Lucas, aka Big Daddy, aka Shabazz, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Shirley Grigsby, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Ralik Hamilton; was convicted and is awaiting sentencing;
- Dion Cheatham, was convicted and is awaiting sentencing; and
- Joseph Thompson, aka Jo-Jo, aka Skools, aka Skoolboy, convicted and sentenced.
“Today’s verdict represents the coup de grace in the demise of a once flourishing, multi-million dollar, international drug trafficking conspiracy,” said U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “The volume of drugs moved by this organization endangered the health and welfare of countless Americans, including many here in Western New York. I commend the work of the federal, state and local law enforcement officers from across our country who, together with the tremendous prosecutors in this office, worked tirelessly to deliver justice to 17 individuals who sought to deliver poison throughout our nation.”
The verdict is the result of an investigation by the DEA Buffalo Resident Office and DEA Los Angeles Field Division; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; Homeland Security Investigations; the Niagara County Drug Task Force; the Buffalo Police Department; the Lockport Police Department; and the Montebello, California Police Department.
Both will be sentenced on a date to be determined before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo, who presided over the trial of the case.
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