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Buffalo man pleads guilty to drug charges

BUFFALO, N.Y. — An upstate New York man pleaded guilty to possessing, with the intent to distribute, marijuana. The charge carries a maximum term of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The guilty plea is the result of an investigation conducted by multiple government agencies including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Miguel Guzman, 26, of Buffalo, conspired with Derek Frank in his alleged drug-trafficking activities. Specifically, Guzman conspired to receive packages containing marijuana shipped via the U.S. Postal Service from Phoenix to various residences in Buffalo.

Derek Frank, 30, of Amherst, N.Y., was arrested and charged in March 2011 with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, possession with intent to distribute, and the distribution of 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.

In August 2011, former Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) employee Minetta Walker was convicted of assisting Derek Frank in bypassing security measures at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Walker's conduct included allowing Frank to travel under a fictitious name. Also in August 2011, a City of Buffalo employee, Regina McCullen was convicted of assisting Frank in creating false documents used for travel.

The plea is a part of an investigation on the part of ICE HSI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the TSA, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 21, 2012.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten.