DEA Transfers Property Back to the People of Syracuse, New York
Glenn T. Suddaby, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, was pleased to announce the transfer of real property located at 625 Otisco Street, Syracuse, New York (“625 Otisco Street”) from the U.S. Asset Forfeiture Fund to the City of Syracuse. The property will be used by the Syracuse Police Department as a police sub-station.
The forfeiture was the result of the investigative efforts of a federal, state and local task force. The Otisco Street property was formerly known as Ariel’s II Market. Ariel’s II Market first attracted the attention of law enforcement in the summer of 2002 when DEA together with the Central New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office undertook an investigation of the drug trafficking activities of HECTOR DELAVAGA and others.
DELAVAGA was identified as the head of a large scale cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin distribution ring who, along with his brother VICTOR DELAVAGA, peddled drugs obtained in New York City to a network of dealers operating in and around Syracuse. The DELAVAGA brothers conducted the business of their narcotics trafficking organization from Ariel’s II Market. That investigation culminated in the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of the DELAVAGA brothers and 16 other persons for narcotics trafficking conspiracy in violation of federal law. The case also resulted in the seizure of narcotics, (1.35 kilograms of cocaine, 200 grams of crack cocaine, and 150 grams of heroin), narcotics paraphernalia, multiple weapons (including five handguns, a rifle, a shotgun, and a pistol-grip shotgun) and ammunition. Besides 625 Otisco Street, $50,000.00 in US currency, two all terrain vehicles, three motorcycles, three jet skis, three late model sport utility vehicles and a pick up truck were also seized and forfeited to the United States.
“This forfeiture represents the commitment of law enforcement to reclaim 625 Otisco Street from drugs and violence,” said John P. Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration. “The results from the DELAVAGA investigation demonstrate what can be done when federal, state and local officials focus their resources toward a common goal.”
According to United States Attorney Suddaby “the goals of the federal asset forfeiture program include 1) deterring crime by depriving criminals of the profits and proceeds of their illegal activities; 2) weakening criminal organizations by taking away assets and tools used to commit crimes; and 3) encouraging joint operation among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. This case is a shining example of those goals accomplished in all respects with the resulting establishment of a police sub-station located to better serve the needs of the neighborhood.”
Mayor Matthew J. Driscoll said “I applaud the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Central New York Drug Enforcement Agency and the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office for their work identifying and investigating the owners of the Ariel’s II Market, an investigation that culminated in the seizure of this property.”
New York State Director of Criminal Justice Chauncey G. Parker said “Attacking crime through concentrated, coordinated efforts of multi-jurisdictional law enforcement services is the best way to make our neighborhoods safe for our families. I want to commend all of the state, local and federal law enforcement officials that participated in this investigation. It is because of their hard work and dedication that the residents of Syracuse will live in a safer community.”
The criminal prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney John M. Katko. The forfeiture aspects of the case were handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Capezza.