(WNY News Now) – Two residents of Jamestown, New York, have entered guilty pleas in connection with a drug conspiracy case, with one man facing up to 20 years in prison and another facing a mandatory minimum of five years. Their actions were part of an organized drug enforcement operation.
Buffalo – Justin Yuchnitz, 29, and Brandon Andino, 38, both from Jamestown, New York, have admitted their involvement in a drug conspiracy in front of U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo. Yuchnitz pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess and distribute heroin and fentanyl, potentially resulting in a 20-year prison term and a $1,000,000 fine. Meanwhile, Andino pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, subjecting him to a mandatory minimum of five years, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti disclosed that Yuchnitz conducted his illicit activities via social media and payment platforms like CashApp, using these avenues to facilitate his drug trafficking operations. Andino, on the other hand, distributed large quantities of heroin and fentanyl from the same source, Joseph Zaso, to both Zaso’s associates and customers.
The convictions of Brian Cessna, Denver Komenda, and Richard Philbrick preceded these guilty pleas. Co-defendants Joseph Zaso and Kyle Lewis are slated for trial in February 2024.
This operation forms part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF).
The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Jamestown Police Department, and Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office. Yuchnitz and Andino are set to be sentenced on January 5 and January 8, 2024, respectively, before Judge Vilardo.