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Four linked to heroin-dealing network plead guilty to charges

Four men accused of being part of a large local heroin-dealing network pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court Thursday to multiple charges of felony drug sales.

Luis A. Medina, 27, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance; Yanuel Soto-Medina, four counts of the same charge; and Juanberto Rivera and Omar Ayala, both 18, each to three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substances. Lesser charges of drug possession against each were dismissed.

Investigators said the drug network, using one cellphone, sold to drug users from Buffalo and its suburbs. They also believe one customer was a man who died in Amherst of a fatal overdose in the spring.

Undercover officers from the State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team assisted in the investigation, making numerous purchases from the defendants, who allegedly were using a hotel room in the Town of Tonawanda to sell heroin.

Ayala had been arrested with another suspect in August; the other three defendants were arrested Oct. 8.

Justice Penny M. Wolfgang set sentencing for Feb. 1.