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Feds charge six with running Mexico-Buffalo drug network

A Mexico-to-Buffalo drug ring is at the heart of a new federal indictment charging six people, including a Bank of America employee in California.

The 23-count grand jury indictment charges the six with operating a cocaine and heroin trafficking organization based in Los Angeles and with ties to a Mexican drug cartel.

The organization shipped drug packages to New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Colorado, and search warrants resulted in the seizure of both cocaine and heroin, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler said.

The charges include conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin, money laundering conspiracy, international money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to structure transactions.

One of the defendants, Presiliano Garcia, a Bank of America employee, is accused of arranging the opening of several accounts that were later used for laundering drug proceeds.

The other are Max Riestra and Jose Manuel Lua-Guizar, both of Mexico, Pethrod Dunnigan and Bryant Hudson, both of Buffalo, and Gerardo Ballardo of California.

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division.