James Leon, 52, of Steamburg pleaded guilty before District Judge Richard J. Arcara to conspiring to distribute more than 15 kilograms of cocaine and 700 kilograms of marijuana.
The charges carry a minimum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, a $20 million fine, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. McCabe, who is handling the case, said that on Nov. 15, 2011, special agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration seized eight kilograms of cocaine and 100 pounds of marijuana from a co-conspirator of the defendant's at a residence on St. Amelia Drive in Tonawanda. Leon was getting cocaine and marijuana from a source-of-supply in Houston, which he then distributed to customers in the Western New York area. Richard Himbury also pleaded guilty to drug-trafficking and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 12. Leon's sentencing is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Feb. 4 before Arcara.
The plea is the result of a joint and continuing investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Brian R. Crowell, special agent-in-charge, New York Field Division; investigators from the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda; the Lockport Police Department, under the direction of Chief Lawrence Eggert; the Tonawanda Police Department, under the direction of Chief Anthony Palombo; the Amherst Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Askey; the Erie County Sherriff's Department, under the direction of Sheriff Tim Howard; the Lancaster Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gerald Gill; the Cattaraugus County Sherriff's Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb; and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force.