January 31, 2018
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Cocaine Trafficking Ring Dismantled In Rochester
Eight arrested on drug and gun charges
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - James J. Hunt, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement (DEA), and U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that Carlos Javier Figueroa, a/k/a/ Javi, a/k/a Big Bro, 39, Roberto Figueroa, 42, Leitscha Poncedeleon, 28, and Orlando Yelder, 36, Jose Justiniano-Rodriguez, 18, Jashua Figueroa, 19, and Obed Torres, 21, all of Rochester, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute and distribution of five kilograms or more of cocaine, use of a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life. In addition, Felix Figueroa was arrested and charged in a separate complaint with distribution of cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn Hartford, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, Carlos Javier Figueroa is the leader of a Rochester-based drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing numerous kilograms of cocaine in the City of Rochester. The organization was involved in the transportation and sale of cocaine and was also responsible for acts of violence in furtherance of the organization’s drug trade. Various locations throughout Rochester were utilized to receive, store, and sell the supply of illegal narcotics.
In December 2017, law enforcement began utilizing court authorized wiretaps and surveilling the area of 6 and 12 Burbank Street in Rochester, believed to be Carlos Javier Figueroa’s residence; 292 Barrington Street in Rochester, believed to be Roberto Figueroa and Poncedeleon’s residence and a stash house where shipments of cocaine are stored; 59 Fernwood Avenue in Rochester, a residence belonging to Carlos Javier Figueroa and 820 East Main Street in Rochester.
On January 29, 2018, during the execution of state search warrants, law enforcement officers seized more than $600,000 in cash, six assault rifles, two loaded handguns, over three kilograms of cocaine, and a quantity of suspected heroin and fentanyl.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Division; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Violent Crime Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan Benedict, New York Field Division; the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli; the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Todd Baxter; the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney Sandra Doorley; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen; the Greece Police Department, under the direction of Chief Patrick Phelan; the Brighton Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mark Henderson; and the U.S. Border Patrol, under the direction of Patrol Agent-in-Charge Gregory Johnson.
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.