OCT 11 (PHILADELPHIA, Pa.) Federal agents arrested 16 alleged members of a Dominican-based drug trafficking organization. An indictment, unsealed yesterday, charges 19 defendants with conspiracy to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin. A separate criminal complaint also charges a 20th defendant in the conspiracy. The indictment alleges that the defendants were members of the Acosta-Cruz Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) and were engaged in trafficking heroin in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Francisco Javier Acosta-Cruz is the alleged leader of the DTO. Of the 20 individuals charged, three were already in custody and five defendants remain at-large. The arrests were announced by United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Zane David Memeger and Vito S. Guarino, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
Charged in the indictment with Acosta-Cruz are Jose Alberto Nunez, 33, Pennsauken, NJ, Marvin DeLeon, 27, Philadelphia, PA, Angel Guzman, 33, Philadelphia, PA, Massiel Rodriguez, 26, Pennsauken, NJ, Yudelka Gonzalea, 36, Philadelphia, PA, Jhovanni Gonzalez, 29, Philadelphia, PA, Edinson Benitz, New York, NY, Samuel LNU (Last Name Unknown), New York, NY, Rafael David Ramirez, 41, New York, NY, Hector Gonzalez, 42, Harrisburg, PA, Ruby Latimer, Philadelphia, PA, Terrance Shawn Jefferies, 25, Philadelphia, PA, Ali Ferrell, 26, Philadelphia, PA, Andrew Rodriguez, 23, Philadelphia, PA, David Torres, 25, Philadelphia, PA, and Cynett Rivera, 22, Philadelphia, PA. Frayvel Santos, 22, Philadelphia, PA, is charged in the criminal complaint.
Acting Special Agent in Charge Guarino said, “This investigation and federal indictments would not have been possible without the outstanding participation and assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshal Service, Diplomatic Security Service, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and the Philadelphia Police Department.” This investigation targeted a major Dominican-based heroin and cocaine trafficking organization with interstate and international ties. The organization coordinated the transshipment of multi-kilograms of heroin and cocaine from South America through the Dominican Republic and then into the U.S., where a significant quantity of the drugs were ultimately distributed on the streets of Philadelphia as well as other regions in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Mr. Guarino expressed his appreciation to the DEA New York and New Jersey Divisions, as well as the DEA Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Country Office, all of which provided significant information and coordination throughout the case.
According to the indictment, the DTO obtained the heroin from sources of supply in New York and elsewhere. The DTO distributed the drugs in various areas of Philadelphia and elsewhere, including Hope and Cambria Streets and Custer and Clearfield Streets.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, defendants Nunez, Marvin DeLeon, Yudelka Gonzalez, and Massiel Rodriguez are charged with employing a juvenile in a drug operation. Defendants Ferrell and Burton also face gun charges. Additionally, one defendant was arrested and is facing Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charges.
If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces a minimum possible sentence of 10 years in prison.
The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Maureen McCartney of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
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