26 Charged in Federal-State Sweep in Rochester
OCT 31 -- (Rochester, NY) United States Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division John P. Gilbride and Terrance P. Flynn, United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, announced that a federal grand jury in Rochester has returned three related indictments charging 25 defendants with operating a drug trafficking ring in Rochester, New York involved in transporting kilogram quantities of cocaine and heroin into the Rochester, New York area from Puerto Rico.
Those charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and 100 grams or more of heroin between January 2007 until October 2008, include REYNALDO VELEZ a.k.a. “Borri”, WILFREDO RODRIGUEZ a.k.a. “Rayito”, JUAN DeJESUS-SANTIAGO a.k.a. “Javi”, JASMIN ROMAN, CARLOS TORRES-PEREZ, ALEX TORRES, AUSBERTO VARGAS a.k.a. “Bertito”, GLORIA ALICEA, JOSE MIRANDA-MORALES a.k.a. “Joey”, IRAMIS DeJESUS a.k.a. “Nani”, EDWIN QUINONES a.k.a “Goldo,” a.k.a. “Gordo”, RALPHAEL PASTRANA-BENITEZ a.k.a. “Ralphie”, LUIS SALAS LABOY, EDUARDO BONILLA a.k.a. “Bebe”, FELIX VAZQUEZ, SR. a.k.a. “Lolo”, FELIX VAZQUEZ, JR. a.k.a. “Lolito”, JOSE E. VAZQUEZ a.k.a “Kiki”, ANGEL M. VAZQUEZ a.k.a. “June” a.k.a. “Juni” a.k.a. “Junior", and ANDY REYNOSO . The charges of violating Title 21 United States Code sections 841(a)(1) and 846 carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a fine of $4,000,000, or both. 13 of the named defendants are also charged with conspiracy to launder money related to the proceeds of the drug trafficking, and several of the named defendants are charged with individual counts of cocaine and heroin distribution pertaining to activities alleged to have occurred on specific dates within the conspiracy time frame.
The indictments further charge defendants, including REYNALDO VELEZ a.k.a. “Borri”, WILFREDO RODRIGUEZ a.k.a. “Rayito”, JUAN DeJESUS-SANTIAGO a.k.a. “Javi”, JOSE MIRANDA-MORALES a.k.a. “Joey”, EDWIN QUINONES a.k.a “Goldo,” a.k.a. “Gordo”, RALPHAEL PASTRANA-BENITEZ a.k.a. “Ralphie”, and FELIX VAZQUEZ, JR. a.k.a. “Lolito” with possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c), carrying a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. These charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, a fine of $4 million dollars, or both.
Five defendants including CARLOS TORRES-PEREZ, JOSE MIRANDA-MORALES a.k.a. "Joey", and IRAMIS DeJESUS a.k.a "Nani" were charged with attempted extortion and robbery and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence relating to the kidnapping and beating of a man on March 18, 2008.
In a related matter, DIEGO CORREA-CASTRO of Rochester, New York was arrested on a criminal complaint earlier this month charging him with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin in violation of Title 21 United States Code section 841(a)(1).
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Noto, who led the investigation and will handle the trial of the case, stated that the organization sent packages of cocaine and heroin via U.S. Mail, to Rochester, New York and thereafter sent the proceeds of their drug sales, via U.S. Mail, back to Puerto Rico. Additionally, it is alleged that certain members of this organization used and possessed firearms to promote their drug trafficking activities.
The defendants were arrested in a sweep which encompassed several locations in the City of Rochester, and one in Syracuse, New York. In connection with the charges, search warrants were executed at various locations utilized by the organization in the City of Rochester.
The Indictment was the culmination of a multi-agency investigation under the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HITA) and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) initiatives. Federal and State law enforcement agencies, including Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearm and Explosives, under the direction of Michael G. Lawandus, Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of David T. Zon, Postal Inspectors of the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Raymond Williams and officers from the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, under the direction of Lt. Joseph Morabito worked in concert with the United States Attorney's Office in this year long investigation.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.