Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge

February 15, 2019

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-2906

Five members of heroin trafficking ring arrested in Syracuse

Two kilograms of heroin (62,000 doses) of heroin taken off the streets

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Four men from Syracuse and one from New York City (the Bronx) have been charged with operating a heroin distribution ring from which investigators seized over 62,000 individual bags of heroin, totaling in excess of two kilograms, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Division.  


The following men are charged in two federal criminal complaints with being members of a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin and fentanyl:


Gavin Ballog, 29, Syracuse, New York

Yan Morales, 29, Syracuse, New York

Brian Morales, 28, Syracuse, New York

Juan Santa, 27, Syracuse, New York

Jesus Manuel Lopez Mendez, New York City (the Bronx)


Defendants Ballog, Y. Morales, B. Morales, and Santa were arrested and charged on Feb. 2, 2019. Jesus Manuel Lopez Mendez was in the custody of immigration authorities when he was arrested and charged yesterday.  The criminal complaints allege the seizure of over 62,000 individual bags of heroin, totaling in excess of two kilograms, and two handguns, as part of an investigation utilizing court-ordered wiretaps. All five defendants have appeared in federal court in Syracuse and are held without bail. The charges filed against the five men carry mandatory minimum sentences of ten years and maximum sentences of life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000,000.00, and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.


The charges in the complaints are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


This case is being investigated by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-Syracuse Resident Office, the New York State Police, and the City of Auburn Police Department, and Investigators from the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman.


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