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DRUG SENTENCE IS PENNSYLVANIA'S LONGEST

A Buffalo man who was convicted of bringing heroin from Buffalo to sell in Altoona, Pa., has received what authorities said was the longest drug sentence in Pennsylvania history: 60 to 150 years.

Efrain Hidalgo Jr., 28, of 502 Seventh St., was sentenced Tuesday by Blair County Judge Norman D. Callan after being convicted June 14 of multiple counts, including possession with intent to deliver heroin, criminal conspiracy and money laundering.

Two other men, whom authorities described as Hidalgo's lieutenants, also have received long sentences after an investigation revealed they helped Hidalgo sell between $320,000 and $800,000 worth of heroin last year.

Felix Ocasio, 20, who listed Buffalo addresses at 113 Massachusetts Ave. and 12 York St., received a 39-to-78-year sentence May 1, and Kenneth Monture, 23, of Hagersville, Ont., received an 18-to-62-year sentence April 7.

Michael Madeira, Pennsylvania senior deputy attorney general, said that under Pennsylvania law, all three men must serve their minimum sentences before they would be eligible for parole.

None of the three actually used heroin, Madeira said, but sold it through local addicts in Altoona.

Madeira said authorities in Altoona first came into contact with Hidalgo and Ocasio in 1997, when both men were arrested on drug charges, which were dropped when an informant disappeared.

"They returned in late December 1998, essentially to reinstitute the distribution of heroin," Madeira said. The men made two or three trips a week from Buffalo between January and May of 1999.

An investigation conducted by the Blair County Drug Task Force led to the cultivation of a confidential informant who made a number of purchases for police. Hidalgo and 10 other heroin dealers were arrested Aug. 26, 1999.

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