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Drug charges send two men to prison

A pair of Niagara Falls men will serve time in federal prison for their involvement in possessing crack cocaine, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. reported Wednesday.

The lengthiest sentence handed down by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny was to Joshua Figueras, 26, who was convicted of possessing with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm, authorities reported.

Figueras received 20 years in prison with 10 years of supervised release.

Figueras was arrested after federal and local law enforcement agents raided his Niagara Falls home in March 2009 and seized 231 grams of crack cocaine, 248 grams of powder cocaine, a .22-caliber rifle and assorted ammunition for several types of firearms, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch.

Shawn Mathews, 30, was sentenced by Skretny to 5 1/2 years in federal prison for possessing and distributing 90 grams of crack cocaine. Mathews was initially arrested after federal and local officials raided his home in April 2008, seizing a small amount of crack cocaine along with a .38-caliber pistol.

Mathews also sold a 9 mm rifle and a revolver to a law enforcement source, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce.

The two men were arrested as part of an investigation into the Bloods gang. They are two of 24 people arrested as part of a probe of gangs in Niagara Falls, federal officials said. To date, 20 have been convicted.

"The dismantling of this narcotics trafficking enterprise and the 20-year sentence given to Joshua Figueras should send a strong message to any others who might think about doing the same," Hochul said.

"My office, along with our federal partners, will use all of the tools at our disposal to keep drugs out of our neighborhoods as well as the violent crime that oftentimes comes along with them."

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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