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Head of West Side drug ring pleads guilty in federal court

A major drug dealer on Buffalo’s West Side has pleaded guilty to a heroin trafficking conspiracy charge before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr.

Daniel Molina “Ponce” Rios, 43, faces a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine when he appears for sentencing before Judge Geraci on Nov. 2, according to acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy.

Prosecutors said Rios went to the New York City area at least six times between March 2014 and June 2015 to purchase large quantities of heroin and supervised at least 10 drug “runners” who coordinated sales with customers via special cell phones. Buffalo Police and State Police undercover agents made 66 heroin purchases from his runners.

Authorities seized six cell phones, drug packaging materials and $14,293 in cash from heroin sales on June 18, 2015, at Rios’ residence on Fillmore Avenue. Of 14 defendants indicted in the case, Rios is the eighth to be convicted.

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