June 08, 2017
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
Rockland County Drug Crew Arrested
Responsible for Distributing Cocaine, Crack, Heroin and Fentanyl: Linked to Overdose
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement (“DEA”), Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Thomas Zugibe, the Rockland County District Attorney, today announced the unsealing of an indictment charging nine defendants with participating in a drug trafficking organization that distributed a variety of narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine, in and around Rockland County, New York, and obtained those narcotics for resale from the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, New York. The indictment alleges that the use of heroin distributed by defendant Robert Diaz, aka “Facey,” aka “Face,” resulted in serious bodily injury to a particular (“Victim-1”) on or about December 15, 2016, in Queens, New York.
All but one of the defendants were arrested last night and today. Rene Sanchez, Pablo Perez, Christian Cardenas, David Almonte, and Ronald Bolanos were presented in federal court in Manhattan before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein this afternoon. Robert Diaz, Theresa Keefe, and Nicole Munderville will be presented tomorrow before Judge Gorenstein. Rolando Paulino remains at large.
“The after effects of this Rockland County drug crew added casualties to the number of opioid overdoses nationwide, as they callously discussed doing the ‘fentanyl dance,’” said Hunt. “In addition to dismantling drug trafficking organizations, law enforcement and our community partners are collaborating to alert the public on the dangers of drug dealers pushing heroin and fentanyl into our neighborhoods.”
“As alleged, the defendants conspired to sell deadly drugs, including heroin and fentanyl, even though some of them knew that users were overdosing on their drugs,” added Kim. “The opioid epidemic, and in particular, overdoses on fentanyl, is on the rise in too many of our communities, including Rockland County. Together with our partners at the DEA and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, we are working to combat this deadly epidemic.”
“Sadly, we're seeing high numbers of fentanyl and heroin related overdoses in Rockland County,” said Zugibe. “Dealers selling heroin-laced fentanyl or replacing the heroin entirely with fentanyl are a major threat to our community. Often times, users never know that the substance they purchased has been cut with this opioid, which is 50 times more powerful than regular heroin. Today’s arrests help to stem the flow of heroin and fentanyl into our neighborhoods. Along with our law enforcement partners, the Rockland County District Attorney's Office is committed to holding dealers accountable with the full force of the law.”
According to the indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court:
Robert Diaz, aka “Facey,” aka “Face,” Rene Sanchez, aka “Renny,” Pablo Perez, aka “Menor,” Christian Cardenas, aka “Chris,” aka “Spoonie,” David Almonte, aka “Elli,” Ronald Bolanos, aka “Ronny,” aka “ET,” Rolando Paulino, aka “Santana Paulino,” Theresa Keefe, aka “Terry,” and Nicole Munderville, aka “Nicki,” conspired to distribute significant amounts of narcotics, including heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and fentanyl, in and around Rockland County, New York, from 2012 to May 2017 as members of a drug trafficking (the “Rockland DTO”). Cardenas, Almonte, Perez, Paulino, and Bolanos acted as suppliers for the Rockland DTO, while Diaz, Sanchez, Keefe, and Munderville distributed and assisted in distributing the narcotics to customers in and around Rockland County. The Rockland DTO distributed narcotics on a daily basis, and obtained narcotics for resale from the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.
Some members of the Rockland DTO were aware of the potency and danger of the narcotics they were distributing. For example, from December 2016 to May 2017, Diaz indicated to certain other members of the Rockland DTO that the narcotics he, Keefe, and Munderville were selling, and that Cardenas was supplying, contained fentanyl, were particularly dangerous, and had caused adverse reactions in multiple customers, including at least one overdose that had required the administration of naloxone to Victim-1 on or about December 15, 2016. Also, as described in the Indictment, on January 5, 2017, Diaz told Cardenas that “three people fell out” from the drugs Diaz had provided. Diaz subsequently informed Keefe and Munderville that the drugs they were selling, thought by customers to be heroin, actually contained fentanyl. In addition, on March 20, 2017, Diaz, in a conversation with Perez, laughed as he discussed doing the “fentanyl dance,” telling Perez that he had a “new connect” for “straight up fentanyl” and that customers “love it.”
Each defendant is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. Diaz also faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison for having distributed heroin resulting in serious bodily injury to a victim. The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge. A chart with the defendants’ ages and residences is below.
Kim thanked the DEA’s Westchester Tactical Diversion Squad, the Rockland County Drug Task Force, the Rockland County REACT Team, and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office for their work on the investigation. The DEA’s Westchester TDS comprises agents and officers of the DEA, Westchester County Police Department, Town of Orangetown Police Department, Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, Yonkers Police Department, New Windsor Police Department, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Health and Human Services. Additional thanks are expressed to the Stony Point Police Department, Haverstraw Police Department, Clarkstown Police Department, Suffern Police Department, Spring Valley Police Department, Rockland County Strategic Intelligence Unit, the Rockland County REACT, NYPD 105th Pct. Anti-Crime Unit, NYPD 114th Pct., the Queens County District Attorney's Office, NYPD Strategic Intelligence Unit, NY/NJ HIDTA.
This matter is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Jane Kim, Jason Richman, and Elizabeth Hanft are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.