BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The leader of a transnational drug trafficking organization with ties to drug lord “El Chapo” and Western New York is going behind bars for life.

United States Attorney Trini E. Ross said Herman E. Aguirre of Brea, California sourced drugs from Mexico, Arizona and California from the Sinaloa Cartel, led by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

The drugs obtained by Aguirre’s organization were trafficked across the United States, including Lockport, Niagara Falls and Buffalo. The U.S. attorney’s office said thousands of kilograms of illegal narcotics were trafficked through the mail, in vehicles with hidden compartments and on pallets in tractor-trailers.

Money brought in from the drugs was laundered through fake seafood companies, including “Corral Seafoods, LLC” in Cheektowaga.

Law enforcement seized over $5,000,000 of illegal narcotics, including 52.5 kilograms of cocaine, 17.5 kilograms of heroin and 8.5 kilograms of fentanyl. 17 defendants were charged and convicted in the case.

A jury convicted Herman E. Aguirre of narcotics conspiracy, operating a continuing criminal enterprise and money laundering conspiracy.

“This defendant, and other members of his illegal narcotics operation, had millions of dollars and ties to some of the most dangerous drug traffickers across the country and in Mexico,” U.S. Attorney Ross said. “The efforts of our law enforcement professionals working here in the Western District of New York, and throughout the country, resulted in the arrest and conviction of 17 defendants, and the removal of dangerous and potentially deadly drugs from our community. This is a testament to the great work of law enforcement to keep communities safe from drugs and violence.”

Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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