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Buffalo man gets 20 years for drug-related fatal shooting

A Buffalo man convicted last year in a drug-related murder case from 2012 was sentenced Monday to 20 years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara sentenced Jose L. Ramirez-Merced, 31, in connection with the July 31, 2012 shooting death of Jose Rivera at Rivera’s home on West Avenue.

Ramirez-Merced pleaded guilty last November to discharging a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking which caused the death of a person. Law enforcement officials said Merced and another defendant, Alexander Duarte, opened fire on Rivera in a drug-related shoot out that left Rivera dead and his sister, Jessica Rivera, injured.

Duarte, 32, pleaded guilty in September and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 12. The shooting was in retaliation for Rivera’s involvement in an earlier shooting that targeted Duarte’s drug-dealing organization, according to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas S. Duszkiewicz and Joel L. Violanti, who prosecuted the case.

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