Leader of Rochester area drug trafficking ring pleads guilty to cocaine charge
ROCHESTER N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, New York Division announced today that Andres Escalera, 29, of Phelps, NY, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. to attempted possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. The charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum penalty of life in prison, and a $10,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. McGrath, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant was a leader in a drug trafficking organization that distributed large quantities of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl throughout the Western District of New York. Escalera was arrested on June 2, 2020, after attempting to purchase six kilograms of cocaine in Ontario County, and was found to be in possession of over $200,000 in cash. Simultaneously, a search warrant was executed at the defendant’s residence where law enforcement officers recovered quantities of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl, as well as drug packaging paraphernalia and cash. As part of his guilty plea, Escalera will forfeit over $574,000 in seized United States currency and a Mercedes Benz automobile.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the DEA Rochester Resident Office, New York Division; the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office; and the Geneva Police Department.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 5, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Geraci.