May 05, 2020
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Major law enforcement operation dismantles multi-million dollar drug trafficking network in Rochester
17 defendants arrested, multiple kilos of fentanyl, other drugs, guns, nearly $1 million cash seized
ROCHESTER, N.Y. –U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan announced today that 17 defendants were arrested and charged in two criminal complaints for their roles in a large and long standing illegal narcotics ring operating in Western New York. Charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 400 grams or more of fentanyl, one kilogram or more of heroin, and five kilograms or more of cocaine are:
Jancarlos Gonzalez-Rivera, A/K/A/ "Los;"
Jonathan Cruz-Vega, A/K/A/ "Tego;"
Earnest Baker, A/K/A/ "Slay;"
Amante Santiago, A/K/A/ "Cholo;"
Enrique Medina, A/K/A/ "Ricky Rose;"
Alexis Morales, A/K/A/ "A;"
Joshua Bauer, A/K/A/ "White Boy;"
Marilin Deleon, A/K/A/ "Beba;"
Lateef Budd, A/K/A/ "Lt;"
Merilin Deleon; and
Assistant U.S. Attorney Everardo Rodriguez, who is handling the case, stated that according to the filed complaints, in 2016, the DEA, Rochester Police Department, New York State Police, Greece Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives began investigating the illegal narcotics trafficking activities of ring leader JanCarlos Gonzalez-Rivera, who is responsible for the distribution of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl in the Rochester area. The defendant used numerous workers to transport, store, repackage for distribution, and distribute cocaine and fentanyl to customers and then collect payment for the drug transactions.
On April 30, 2020, investigators executed search warrants at 24 residences in Rochester, West Henrietta, Penfield, Greece, Irondequoit, and Syracuse, and on 12 cars associated with the defendants. During the execution of those search warrants, they seized eight firearms; approximately 3.5 kilograms of fentanyl; and approximately two kilograms of cocaine and crack cocaine. In addition, investigators seized $928,400 in cash.
“Time after time, law enforcement’s perseverance to their mission prevails,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan. “This operation decimated a major drug trafficking network whose tentacles reached every neighborhood in the city. I would like to thank our law enforcement partners for their collaboration and commitment as this was truly a joint investigation.”
“I want to commend and thank the literally hundreds of law enforcement officers who in the midst of a pandemic risked their own well-being to protect the public by masterfully executing this massive takedown,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Their efforts neutralized an armed and very profitable drug trafficking organization that was peddling poison and misery throughout our community. While much of our community is on pause, our brave men and women in law enforcement have remained very active working tirelessly to protect us from all forms of danger.”
The defendants made initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark W. Pedersen.
The complaints are the result of an investigation by the DEA’s Rochester Resident Office; the Rochester Police Department; the New York State Police; the Greece Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the U.S. Marshal Service; the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office; the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office; and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Additional assistance was provided by the DEA’s Syracuse Resident Office and Buffalo Resident Office.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.