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Two Buffalo men arrested and charged with cocaine conspiracy

Two Buffalo men arrested and charged with cocaine conspiracy

Two Buffalo men were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

If convicted on the charge, Juan Padua, 32, and Michael Vasquez, 24, both face a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Prosecutors said the U.S. Postal Inspection Service intercepted a parcel shipped from Puerto Rico addressed to Padua. The box was turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Office in Buffalo.

On July 22, investigators executed a federal search warrant on the parcel, which contained toys, coloring books, paper plates, napkins and a slime box. The slime box allegedly contained a large, white, brick-like substance composed of a loosely packed white powder.

Field tests indicated the presence of both cocaine and fentanyl, prosecutors said.

On July 23, a transmitting device was installed in the box and a controlled delivery was conducted. Investigators received a tone indicating that the parcel had been opened. They executed a search warrant at the apartment in which Padua resided. The parcel was allegedly found in the rafters in the attic. Additional search efforts led to the recovery of the transmitting device, which was broken and recovered from the roof of the rear porch.

Padua and Vasquez were taken into custody.

They each made initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer.

Vasquez was released on conditions, and Padua is being held pending a detention hearing, prosecutors said.

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