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A Buffalo man who is already serving time on a federal drug conviction may now face at least three more decades in prison after being convicted in a jailhouse sting operation.

Jamile Lee, 25, of Waring Street, was convicted by a jury Monday of trying to arrange a $20,000 drug deal from the Erie County Holding Center.

"He's already serving a 27-month sentence for a drug conviction last year, and because of his extensive criminal record, he could be facing another 30 years to life when he gets sentenced again," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Clare Kane.

Lee was in the holding center in May 2003 when he told a fellow prisoner that he wanted to arrange a drug deal on the outside, Kane said. Lee was unaware that the other prisoner was a federal drug informant.

With the informant's help, Lee used the jail's telephone system to arrange a $20,000 purchase of more than two pounds of cocaine, Kane said. Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were listening in and were waiting when Lee's outside contact went to pick up the cocaine.

"Tapes of the phone conversations provided some key evidence," Kane said.

Defense attorney Joseph J. Terranova argued during the weeklong trial that Lee only became involved in the situation because he was going along with a scheme promoted by others.

Sentencing is set for Feb. 9.


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