(WNY News Now) – U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a five-count indictment charging a 45-year-old from Jamestown, NY, with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of life and a $1,000,000 fine.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, in October and December 2022, Zaid Mendoza allegedly possessed fentanyl and methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it in the Jamestown area. On December 7, 2022, investigators executed a search warrant at Mendoza’s residence and recovered $1,800 cash, approximately 36 grams of fentanyl and a quantity of methamphetamine, a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, drug packaging paraphernalia, and cell phones. Mendoza, who was taken into custody at the scene, had another 36 grams of fentanyl on his person. In October 2014, Mendoza was convicted of a felony in Chautauqua County Court and is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Mendoza was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and is detained.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Jamestown Police Department Metro Drug Task Force, under the direction of Chief Timothy Jackson, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office County Drug Task Force, under the direction of Sheriff James Quattrone, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Miraglia, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Scarpino, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. DeVito, New York Field Division.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.