News Release
October 15, 2009
Rusty Payne
Office of Public Affairs

33 Indicted in Central New York Cocaine Conspiracy
Over Eight Kilograms of Cocaine and Ten Firearms Seize

OCT 15 -- Syracuse, NY— Special-Agent-in-Charge John P. Gilbride of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and United States Attorney Andrew T. Baxter announce the prior federal indictment of thirty-three (33) individuals in connection with one of the largest cocaine distribution organizations ever identified in Central New York. To date, 30 of these defendants are in custody and three remain at large.

DEA Special Agent in Charge “DEA and our state and local law enforcement partners are committed to identifying and investigating those responsible for distributing cocaine throughout our communities. Our Syracuse Resident Office has been focusing on weeding out the sources of illegal drugs and the distribution networks in order to make the Syracuse area a drug free community.”

Those indicted for participation in one or more multiple, overlapping cocaine distribution conspiracies include the following:

ONELIO RIOS-MONTES, a/k/a Cali , age 33, Cicero, New York;
TAYLOR STURTZ , age 26, Syracuse, New York;
DUSTIN BEYOR, age 24, Syracuse, New York;
CHRISTOPHER C. WRIGHT, age 32, Cicero, New York;
SCOTT M. WRIGHT, age 35, Mattydale, New York;
WILLIAM F. VOTRA, age, 41, Hopkinton, New York;
CURTIS A. PREVO, age 44, Clay, New York;
ROBERT J. CASTRO, a/k/a Cooby, age 38, Syracuse, New York;
JAMES ANNESE, age 30, North Syracuse, New York;
MICHAEL S. WILLIAMSON, age 24, Syracuse, New York;
MIGUEL VALDEZ-ALVAREZ, age 56, Van Buren, New York;
MITCHELL PAUL, a/k/a Paul Mitchell , age 38, Syracuse, New York;
DANIELLE M. PARENTEAU, age 32, Syracuse, New York;
JANET A. DAUGHTRY, a/k/a Janet A. Hegedus, age 47, Marathon, New York;
RAY ROSS, age 31, Cicero, New York;
RICARDO ALMENTEROS, age 44, Rochester, New York;
RAFAEL B. SABERI, a/k/a Felo, age 40, Syracuse, New York;
JOHN M. LADUE, age 26, Solvay, New York;
VICTOR RAMON-ORTIZ, age 46, North Syracuse, New York;
OSMEL RIOS, age 34, Dewitt, New York;
JAMES GOULD, age 45, East Syracuse, New York;
ALAIN MORALES, age 38, Clay, New York;
FRED ST. ANDREWS, age 42, Clay, New York;
LUIS A. SANTIAGO, a/k/a Alfredo, age 42, Syracuse, New York;

The charges announced today are mere allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

CARLOS ACEVEDO, age 34, Syracuse, New York;
JESUS PONCE, age 53, Syracuse, New York;
NORMA J. SMITH, age 45, Syracuse, New York;
FREDY HERRERA-BETANCOURT, age 38, Fort Myers, Florida;
JUAN MERENCIO, age 47, Syracuse, New York;
JOSHUA BLACK, age 31, Cicero, New York;
SCOTT STEVENS, age 23, Syracuse, New York; and
CHRISTOPHER DUXBURY, age 21, Syracuse, New York.

All of these individuals have been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and distributing cocaine between January and September 2009. If convicted, 21 defendants charged with conspiring to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine face a term of imprisonment of at least ten years up to a maximum of life, fines up to $4 million, and at least five years of supervised release following any period of incarceration. The remaining 12 defendants, if convicted of conspiring to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine, face a term of imprisonment of at least five years up to a maximum of 40 years, fines up to $2 million, and at least four years of supervised release following any period of incarceration. Six defendants are also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking conspiracy and could face an additional mandatory-minimum term of five years of imprisonment, if convicted. 1 Twenty defendants arrested today with the assistance of the United States Marshals Service had initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles starting at 1:00 p.m.

Others charged in related cases include JENNIFER WHEELOCK, charged by federal complaint; and Susan COLUCCI, Michael FALCONE, Phillip David FOLNSBEE, Sonya PHILIPS, Ashley POLGE, Julian POLGE, Sr., Christine VALDES, Ulyses VALDEZ - ALVAREZ , and Anita Faye WRIGHT , all charged with state drug offenses by the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office.

These prosecutions resulted from a ten-month investigation undertaken by the Central New York High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, and included the efforts of the Syracuse Resident Office of the DEA, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, the Syracuse Police Department, New York State Police, Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The investigation uncovered a sophisticated network of dealers and couriers in and around Central New York which distributed kilogram quantities of cocaine on a weekly basis. The Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office initiated a number of state wiretaps and secured several rounds of search warrants in connection with the investigation. To date, the following items, among others, have been seized during this investigation:

  • approximately eight kilograms of cocaine with a street value of at least $800,000;
  • 16 pounds of marijuana;
  • twelve firearms;
  • over $88,000 in cash;
  • twelve vehicles; and
  • various drug paraphernalia.

United States Attorney Baxter commended the multiple law enforcement agencies responsible for this investigation: “Because of the dedication and cooperation of law enforcement at every level, a major cocaine trafficking organization in Central New York has been dismantled.”