CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jair Abraham Gil Valdez, 29, Tuscon, Arizona, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and distributing cocaine. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that between June and August 8, 2019, the defendant conspired with Ruben Moran Bustamante, Guillermo Garcia, and others, to sell cocaine. On August 7, 2019, Valdez traveled to Rochester, NY, and met Bustamante and Garcia at a hotel. The defendant had with him cocaine intended for distribution. The next day, on August 8, 2019, Bustamante and Garcia obtained five kilograms of cocaine from Valdez. The cocaine was seized from Bustamante’s vehicle after he was pulled over driving to Buffalo. After the seizure, Valdez was located at the hotel in Rochester. Investigators seized three phones from the defendant. A search of the phones revealed photos of what appeared to be kilograms of cocaine on a scale, bulk quantities of U.S. currency, and firearms.
Charges remain pending against co-defendants Bustamante and Garcia. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The plea is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 16, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Vilardo.
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