BUFFALO-Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced Thursday that Minerva Maestre, 49, of Dunkirk pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroder to possessing with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who is handling the case, stated that on April 28, 2017, Dunkirk Police, the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant at 51 E. Second Street in Dunkirk, which is the residence of the defendant. During the search, officers seized 60 grams of crack cocaine, 42 grams of cocaine, plastic baggies, and $171,962 in cash.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, under the direction of Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Geraci; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division; and the Dunkirk Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Ortolano.

Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date before Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.