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'Violent predator' sentenced for murders, drugs

The U.S. Attorney calls him a "violent predator" and gang member, responsible for murder and drug dealing. Wednesday the predator was sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison.Efrain Hildalgo, 30, of Buffalo - also known as Cheko - has been sentenced for Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Tripi said Hildalgo was a member of the Cheko’s Crew/7th Street Gang, which was responsible for multiple acts of violence and the distribution of illegal narcotics - including heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine and marijuana - on Buffalo's the West Side between 2000 and 2012.

Tripi said Hildalgo also admitted his role in the murders of four people from 2004 to 2010, including:

  • November 11, 2004 murder of Nelson and Miguel Camacho in their Niagara Street residence. Josue Ortiz served 10 years in state prison for these murders. His conviction was vacated by an Erie County Court judge based on the findings of this federal investigation.  
  • August 11, 2009 murder of 10th St. Gang associate Eric Morrow.
  • June 5, 2010 murder of Virgil Page on 19th Street.

Tripi said Hildago also was involved in seven attempted murders, including rival gang members Desmond Ford, Darnell McIntosh, Edwin Rivera and Saul Santana. 
A total of 18 defendants have been charged and convicted in this case, which was cooperatively investigated by federal, state and local authorities.