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'Linchpin' of Niagara Falls heroin ring draws 5-year prison sentence

Juan J. Martinez, described by a prosecutor as the "linchpin" of a Niagara Falls heroin sales ring that grossed as much as $10,000 a day, was sentenced Monday to five years in state prison.

It's the second time he has been imprisoned for selling heroin.

Defense attorney Herbert L. Greenman told Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III that Martinez, 40, stopped selling heroin in 2015 and hadn't used the drug for six to eight months before his arrest in December.

"My addiction has stopped me from living a happy life," Martinez, a Puerto Rico native, said through an interpreter. He credited his girlfriend, a drug counselor, for helping him fight a heroin addiction that began in his teens.

Eight people have pleaded guilty in the probe of heroin sales in the Falls between November 2014 and September 2015.

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