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California man pleads guilty to cocaine charge

A California man faces a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty Friday to a cocaine possession charge before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. Armando Ernesto Abarca, 22, of Modesto, Calif., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, between September 2014, and September 2016,  Abarca conspired with others to possess and distribute cocaine. Prosecutors said he used a storage unit in Amherst to store 43 kilograms of cocaine, and he also distributed about 50 kilograms of cocaine in Columbus, Ohio, during the same period.

Charges against a co-defendant, Raul Everado Ledesma Abarca, are pending, prosecutors said.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.

Sentencing for Abarca is scheduled for Dec. 12.

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