BUFFALO – A Hamburg man with apparent ties to Chautauqua County has been sentenced to 11 years in prison following an investigation by the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and others, according to U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr.
Joseph C. Paternostro, 28, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, and distribution of, five kilograms or more of cocaine and retaliating against a witness, was sentenced to serve 132 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. In addition, the defendant was ordered to forfeit $200,000 in drug proceeds.
Officials said that on July 12, 2018, the defendant pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, and distribution of, five kilograms or more of cocaine.
Shortly thereafter, Paternostro started writing letters from prison threatening to hurt or kill the victim who was a witness against the defendant in his drug case. The defendant was indicted in September 2018 for the threats and pleaded guilty in December 2018.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division; the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, under the direction of Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim B. Quattrone; and the Evans Police Department, under the direction of Chief Douglas Czora.