Two Rochester men plead guilty for their roles in drug conspiracy
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., and DEA New York Division Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan announced today Pablo Rentas-Torres, 35, and Jesus Fernandez, 25, both of Rochester, N.Y., pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr., to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, quantities of fentanyl, cocaine and crack cocaine. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $1,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. McGrath, who is handling the case, stated that the defendants were members of a drug trafficking organization led by co-defendant Jose Casado. The organization distributed large quantities of fentanyl, cocaine and crack cocaine out of drug houses located on Clifford Avenue and Treyer Street in Rochester between December 2017 and May 15, 2019.
Jose Casado would obtain bulk quantities of fentanyl, heroin and crack cocaine, then he and other members of the conspiracy would “bag-up” or package the various substances to be sold to individual drug users. Drug users would contact Casado directly via cellular phone to order quantities of drugs and Casado would then routinely direct other members of the conspiracy, including the defendants, to obtain a particular quantity of drugs from the Casado organization’s drug stash, and deliver it to the customer at a pre-arranged location. The drug runners then met with the customer and provided the drugs in exchange for cash. Casado or another member of the organization would collect the proceeds of the drugs sales from the drug runners periodically throughout the day. Between December 2017 and April of 2019, investigators conducted 13 undercover purchases from the organization.
On March 14, 2019, a search warrant was executed at the Clifford Avenue drug house. Members of the DEA and Rochester Police Department recovered 18 baggies of fentanyl, nine baggies of powder cocaine, nine baggies of crack cocaine, numerous materials used to package controlled substances, 1,800 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition and 50 shotgun shells. On May 15, 2019, a second search warrant was executed at the Clifford Avenue residence where investigators recovered a .22 caliber pistol.
Rentas-Torres and Fernandez were arrested along with five other defendants, including Jose Casado. A total of three have been convicted. Charges remain pending against Jose Casado, Whitney Casado, Ricardo Casado and Gamalliett Rosario-Martinez. 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.
The pleas are the result of an investigation by the DEA Rochester Resident Office and the Rochester Police Department.
Rentas-Torres and Fernandez are scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 13, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. respectively, both before Judge Geraci.
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