October 24, 2017
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
DEA Strike Force Arrests New York Drug Distributor In Undercover Investigation On The Dark Web
NEW YORK - James J. Hunt, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Division of the DEA and Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced today the arrest of Cristian Rodriguez, who distributed through the U.S. mail heroin, oxycodone, and other counterfeit prescription drugs that were illegally sold over the Internet.
When Rodriguez was arrested yesterday, approximately 32 kilograms of counterfeit prescription drugs that were in his apartment were seized. The defendant was presented yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis in Manhattan federal court.
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said: “Anonymity is a drug trafficker’s friend and law enforcement’s foe. Yesterday’s street corner dealer has been replaced by the dark web that enables criminal activity and drug addiction. Online illicit marketplaces challenge law enforcement, but this investigation demonstrates how joint efforts can lead to the arrest of an alleged major drug distributor based in New York City.”
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As alleged, Cristian Rodriguez used the anonymity of the internet to peddle massive quantities of addictive pain killers without valid prescriptions. Hiding behind computers, the Rodriguez and his co-conspirators allegedly sold and shipped multiple kilograms of highly addictive prescription drugs and potentially lethal opioids. Thanks to the outstanding work of our law enforcement partners, Rodriguez has been arrested and his dangerous business has been taken offline.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint and statements made in Manhattan federal court:
Since at least May 2016, Rodriguez and his co-conspirators anonymously sold and distributed controlled substances over the Internet via online marketplaces. Rodriguez shipped various counterfeit prescription drugs, including counterfeit oxycodone, which was actually made of heroin and other substances, to individuals across the United States. Rodriguez maintained a stockpile of these drugs in his apartment in the Bronx, New York. A search of Rodriguez’s residence at the time of his arrest uncovered, among other things, approximately 32 kilograms of counterfeit prescription drugs, shipping supplies, drug paraphernalia, money transfer records, and electronics typically used in the operation of online narcotics distribution schemes.
Rodriguez, 43, of the Dominican Republic, was charged with one count of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute heroin and oxycodone, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James Hunt praised the outstanding investigative work of the members of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, the United States Postal Service Inspection Service - New York, the Clarkstown Police Department and New York City Police Department.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.