Leader of transnational drug conspiracy tied to the El Chapo Mexican drug cartel going to prison for life


Date: December 3, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Buffalo, NY —  U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Herman E. Aguirre, aka 007, aka Lucky, aka Primo, aka Freddy, of Brea, California, who was convicted following a jury trial of narcotics conspiracy, operating a continuing criminal enterprise and money laundering conspiracy, was sentenced to serve life in prison by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Higgins, who handled the case, stated that Aguirre was the leader of a transnational drug trafficking organization that utilized contacts and a source of supply whose territory included Mexico, Arizona, California, and elsewhere. The source of supply was the Sinaloa Cartel, led by Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada.

The local organization trafficked thousands of kilograms of illegal narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine throughout the United States, including Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Buffalo. The illegal narcotics were transported via the U.S. mail, individual vehicles outfitted with "trap" compartments, and on pallets loaded on tractor trailers. Members of the organization created fake seafood companies to launder drug proceeds through including Triton Foods, Inc., Kamora Investment Enterprises, Inc. and Fresh Choice Produce in California, and Corral Seafoods, LLC in Cheektowaga. Members of the organization also utilized numerous bank accounts at local Bank of America branches to deposit over $19,000,000 of illegal drug proceeds.

During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers seized over $5,000,000 worth of illegal narcotics, including:

  • 52.5 kilograms of cocaine;
  • 17.5 kilograms of heroin; and
  • 8.5 kilograms of fentanyl

A total of 17 defendants were charged and convicted in this case.

"This defendant, and other members of his illegal narcotics operation, had millions of dollars and ties to some of the most dangerous drug traffickers across the country and in Mexico," stated U.S. Attorney Ross. "The efforts of our law enforcement professionals working here in the Western District of New York, and throughout the country, resulted in the arrest and conviction of 17 defendants, and the removal of dangerous and potentially deadly drugs from our community. This is a testament to the great work of law enforcement to keep communities safe from drugs and violence."

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Thomas Fattorusso; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Keith Kruskall, New York Field Division; Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special-Agent-in Charge Matthew Scarpino; the Niagara County Drug Task Force, under the direction of Sheriff Michael Filicetti; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood; the Lockport Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Steven Abbott; the Montebello, California Police Department, the Nebraska State Patrol, and the DEA, Los Angeles.