June 18, 2015
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
10 People Arrested In Two Separate Cases For Heroin And Cocaine Trafficking Affecting Multiple Western New York Communities
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA) New York Division and U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., Western District of New York, announced today that a federal grand jury has returned two separate indictments charging 10 individuals with narcotics trafficking in the cities of Buffalo, NY and Dunkirk, NY.
Daniel Molina-Rios, a/k/a Ponce, 40, Orlando Rios, a/k/a Fifo, 43, Luis Montanez, a/k/a Wichy, 37, and Jose Andujar, 37, all of Buffalo, NY, are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 100 grams or more of heroin. The charge carries a minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years and a $5,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who is handling the case, stated that multiple law enforcement officers conducted an investigation into a heroin drug trafficking organization operated by Daniel Molina-Rios. According to the indictment and other court documents, since approximately 2014, the organization acquired heroin from the New York City area for distribution in Buffalo. The organization also has an alternate heroin source in Buffalo, that source is identified as Luis Montanez. The Molina-Rios drug trafficking organization distributed heroin through multiple street-level distributors or “runners” who are managed by Jose Andujar and led by Daniel Molina-Rios and Orlando Rios.
Search warrants were executed at the residences of the defendants including 620 Grant Street, 42 Potomac Street, 74 Fillmore Avenue, and 221 Gorton Street, all in Buffalo.
Named in a separate indictment are David Jesus Pagan, 39, Rafael Burgos, Jr., 40, Samuel Hernandez, III, 34, Javier Pagan, Jr., 31, Alvin Torres, Jr., 30, and Angel Pierluissi, 28, all of Dunkirk. The defendants are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. David Jesus Pagan is also charged with maintaining a premise for manufacturing and distribution of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The charges carry a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Duszkiewicz, who is handling the case, stated that between 2013 and June 10, 2015, law enforcement officers have been investigating a drug trafficking organization led by defendants David Jesus Pagan and Rafael Burgos, Jr. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the defendants distributed multiple kilograms of cocaine throughout the Dunkirk area.
Search warrants were executed at six properties which resulted in the recovery of more than seven kilograms of cocaine and approximately $175,000 in cash as well as an AR-15 assault rifle with a 30 round magazine.
“Throughout this week, two major drug distribution rings were dismantled and their leaders arrested. The arrests of Burgos and Pagan solidify the end of their cocaine distribution operation; every dose they sold throughout the Chautauqua County and adjacent towns fueled drug addiction,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt. “Drug addiction has become public health’s archenemy and as heroin related deaths have increased 174%, heroin traffickers have become law enforcement’s priority target which has led to these latest arrests of members of the Molina-Rios heroin trafficking organization. This two year investigation uncovered a heroin distribution network that allegedly distributed up to 1,000 heroin glassines a day, or in other words 1,000 doses of death per day.” SAC Hunt would like to thank the Western District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office and all of DEA’s law enforcement partners for their diligent work throughout these investigations.
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul stated “The two arrest operations conducted today removed major sources of illegal narcotics from flowing into our area. The dangers of both heroin and cocaine are well known, and can include death for the user, and a severe decline in the neighborhood for those who through no fault of their own reside near drug distribution locations. This Office will continue to target and prosecute those who would destroy our community through the peddling of illegal and toxic substances.”
The indictments are the result of an investigation by the DEA’s Buffalo Resident Office, the New York State Police Community Enforcement Narcotics Team Western Region, under the direction of Lieutenant Kevin Reyes, the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda, the Dunkirk Police Department, under the direction of Chief David C. Ortolano, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy S. Whitcomb, and the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of David Foley. Additional assistance was provided by the Hamburg Police Department, Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Cheektowaga Police Department, Lackawanna Police Department, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Transit Police, Niagara Falls Police Department, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and United States Border Patrol.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.