February 27, 2019
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
Nine members of trafficking organization charged with distributing heroin, fentanyl and cocaine out of auto body shops
NEW YORK – Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan, New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration; United States Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, Southern District of New York; Commissioner James P. O’Neill, New York City Police Department; Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett, New York State Police; Special Agent in Charge James D. Robnett, New York Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; and Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez, New York Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, announced today that Adalberto Velazquez, aka “Joe;” Raymond Resto, aka “Tone;” Sal Castro, aka “Floss;” Joel Lopez, aka “Rompiendoe,” aka “Paul,” aka “Po;” Willis Lleras, aka “Willy;” Reinaldo Roman, aka “Papo;” Jaime Garcia, aka “Jimmy;” Antonio Burgos, aka “Anthony;” and Marilyn Adino have been charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. The defendants arrested today are expected to be presented this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Ronnie Abrams.
“These arrests will have a significant impact on the heroin/fentanyl supply in the Bronx,” said Special Agent in Charge Donovan. “DEA’s goal is to keep the public safe from the dangers of drug abuse. One way of doing that is to target local distribution organizations responsible for attracting new users, enabling addiction and contributing to overdoses in our city. I applaud the Strike Force and U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, for their diligent work throughout this investigation.”
“As alleged, these defendants were a network that outwardly offered to fix cars but was really an organization that would supply a fix of heroin or cocaine,” said U.S. Attorney Berman. “Thanks to the work of the DEA and its Strike Force partners, we have delivered a body shot to these allegedly drug-peddling body shops.”
“This investigation has resulted in the arrests of individuals who had no regard for the damage their actions inflicted on the community,” said Acting Superintendent Corlett. “The illegal trafficking of heroin and fentanyl has resulted in an epidemic of addiction and overdose fatalities in every corner of New York, and it will not be tolerated. I want to thank the members of the Strike Force for their outstanding work on this case.”
“For the past four years, these individuals are alleged to have distributed hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and heroin in the Bronx,” said Special Agent in Charge Melendez. “It is also known that much was mixed with fentanyl. HSI will continue to partner with the Strike Force to ensure that those who look to make a profit off the vulnerabilities of others are no longer operating on city streets.”
According to the allegations in the indictment and statements made in Court:
The defendants were members of a drug trafficking organization that packaged and sold narcotics out of multiple auto body shops and garages in the Bronx, N.Y. From 2015 to February 2019, the DTO is estimated to have distributed hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and heroin. Much of the heroin that the DTO distributed was mixed with fentanyl.
Velasquez, 50; Resto, 43; Castro, 39; Lleras, 63; Roman, 55; Garcia, 53; Burgos, 46; and Adino, 49, each of the Bronx, and Lopez, 39, of New York, are each charged with one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine, heroin and fentanyl, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Strike Force. The arrest was the result of an investigation by the New York Strike Force, a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state and local law enforcement agencies supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
The Strike Force is housed at the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA; the New York City Police Department; the New York State Police; Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations; the U. S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Marshals Service; New York National Guard; the Clarkstown Police Department; U.S. Coast Guard; Port Washington Police Department; and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael K. Krouse and Adam S. Hobson 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.
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