BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Esteven Matos, 29, of Buffalo, NY, along with Lydia Cortes, 50, and Felix Ayende, 45, both of Lackawanna, NY, with narcotics conspiracy, possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl, and attempting to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life. Defendant Esteven Matos is also charged with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes, which carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas T. Cooper, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, on October 30, 2020, a federal search warrant was executed on a USPS Priority Mail Parcel addressed to “Antonio Cortes 1326 ELECTRIC Ave. LACKAWANNA, NY 14218.” The package contained one kilogram of cocaine. On November 3, 2020, the parcel, the contents of which were replaced with “sham,” was delivered to 1326 Electric Avenue and taken inside by defendant Ayende. A short time later, investigators conducting surveillance observed defendant Matos arrive at the residence. After Matos arrived, the parcel was opened. A search warrant was then executed at the residence. Investigators seized two loaded firearms, one of which was stolen, approximately 260 grams of fentanyl, 1,451 pills containing methamphetamine, the kilogram of “sham” cocaine, digital scales, sandwich baggies, five cell phones, and over $63,000 in US currency. All three defendants were arrested at that time.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Boston Division Inspector-in-Charge Joshua W. McCallister, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.