A.G. Schneiderman And NYSP Superintendent D'Amico Dismantle Two Heroin Distribution Networks In Western New York
Over 30 People Indicted As Part Of “Operation Crazy Train;” Drug Rings Accused Of Flooding Western New York With Heroin And Cocaine
Schneiderman: To Protect Our Communities From The Heroin Scourge, We Must Wage War On Several Different Fronts
NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico today announced the indictment of 32 people charged with operating two related, large-scale drug distribution networks that funneled narcotics into Rochester, Buffalo and neighboring communities. The multi-agency, 13-month investigation, known as “Operation Crazy Train,” included covert surveillance and hundreds of hours of wiretaps.
Over the course of the investigation, authorities seized nearly $1 million worth of heroin, several hundred thousand dollars worth of cocaine and tens of thousands of dollars in cash. The individuals involved were arrested in a series of overnight raids and charged with a variety of felony counts related to the possession, sale and distribution of narcotics.
“Heroin has become one of the deadliest forces attacking communities across New York and the country,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Takedowns like this one strike a significant blow to the criminal element of narcotics trafficking, particularly across Western New York. However, to protect our communities from the heroin scourge, we must wage war on several different fronts — by equipping our law enforcement officers with antidotes to overdoses and cracking down on prescription drug abuse to stem heroin addiction before it starts.”
“The arrests of these individuals today will have a significant impact on the heroin and drug trade in Western New York,” Police Superintendant D’Amico said. “Make no mistake: when it comes to identifying, locating and arresting individuals who chose to engage in this criminal behavior, we will be diligent, and we will use every resource available to shut down these drug operations and make our communities safer. It is the combined efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement working together that has made these arrests possible.”
According to the allegations made public in Monroe County Court today, “Operation Crazy Train,” which was led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force and the New York State Police, resulted in the discovery of two drug distribution networks. In the first ring, heroin was allegedly transported to the Rochester area from Massachusetts and the Bronx, while the cocaine came via Manhattan, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Pennsylvania. The second indictment focuses on illegal narcotics being distributed in the high-crime section of Rochester known as “the Flambos.”
Based on hundreds of hours of wiretaps obtained by authorities in the course of this operation, it is alleged that the suspects went to elaborate lengths to communicate with one another and with others over cellular telephones using codes and speaking in a guarded, cryptic manner. They created a unique slang to allow them to conduct transactions while evading law enforcement detection. For example, as alleged today in court, one defendant was recorded asking another defendant to give him “a Reggie Miller” – a request to purchase 31 grams of a cocaine using an implied reference to the jersey number of former NBA player Reggie Miller.
The defendants in this case also allegedly went to great lengths to conceal their narcotics while they were being transported from one location to another. During a traffic stop of one defendant’s vehicle, three kilos of cocaine were discovered inside a piece of furniture – an end table with a false bottom. Three vehicle side-view mirrors were packed with cocaine and shipped to Western New York from Puerto Rico. Another defendant created a secret compartment inside an otherwise-ordinary backpack, which he used to transport both heroin and cocaine.
While criminal enforcement actions like this are essential to stemming the supply of heroin to our communities, it is equally important to combat the epidemic on the treatment side as well. Last month, Attorney General Schneiderman successfully launched the Community Overdose Prevention (COP) Program, which provides funding for every law-enforcement agency in New York to equip and train its officers with Naloxone, the life-saving heroin antidote. In just four weeks, more than 85 law-enforcement agencies have already signed up for the program. Separately, the Attorney General’s I-STOP program took effect earlier this year, and state health officials have already noted a 75% drop in “doctor shopping” – prescription pill-addicted patients soliciting opioid prescriptions from several doctors in a short period of time.
Several agencies assisted the Office of the Attorney General and the NYSP in the “Operation Crazy Train” investigation, including the Rochester Police Department, Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (GRANET), NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), DOCCS Inspector General's office, Monroe County Probation, Federal Probation, DEA, US Border Patrol, Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST - Massena), DHS/ ICE/ Homeland Security Investigations, Monroe County Sheriff's Office, US Postal Inspectors Service, Lawrence Massachusetts Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Utica Police Department and the Cortland County Sheriff's Office.
Those charged in today’s two indictments are:
JEFFREY ACEVEDO – Buffalo, NY
ELIGIO ADAMES – Rochester, NY
JERRY ALVAREZ – Buffalo, NY
JOSE ALVAREZ – Rochester, NY
EDWIN CRUZ- Buffalo, NY
JASON FIGUEROA – Rochester, NY
JOSE GAUTIER – Buffalo, NY
CHRISTIAN GONZALEZ – Rochester, NY
RANDELL GONZALEZ – Greece, NY
ANTWAN HINES – Rochester, NY
MERCEDES HUGHES – Buffalo, NY
ROBERT JACKSON – Buffalo, NY
PHILLIP LAGARES – Rochester, NY
EDDISON LANTIGUA – Queens, NY
NELSON MARCIAL – Rochester, NY
CARLOS MARTINEZ – Buffalo, NY
LUIS MARTINEZ – Rochester, NY
FRANCIS MEDINA-TORRES – Lawrence, MA
ANGEL L. MELENDEZ – Rochester, NY
BRYAN MOORE – Jamestown, NY
JOMIAN OLIVO-PEREZ – Rochester, NY
JAKELINE ORTIZ – Rochester, NY
VICTOR OYOLA, a/k/a JOSE GOMEZ PRICE – Lawrence, MA
MARTHA PADUA – Rochester, NY
REINALDO RODRIGUEZ – Rochester, NY
SANTOS RODRIGUEZ – Rochester, NY
JOSE ROMAN – Rochester, NY
NYDIA ROMERO – Rochester, NY
FRANKLIN SUERO-PENA – Lehigh, PA
TOMAS SUERO – Bronx, NY
RICARDO VAZQUEZ – Rochester, NY
WILLIAM J. VAZQUEZ – Rochester, NY
The investigation was conducted by NYSP Acting Senior Investigator Matthew Butts, Senior Investigator Paul Kelly and Lieutenant Martin McKee, as well as OCTF Investigator Christopher Reidy, Supervising Investigator Thomas M. Wolf and Deputy Chief Eugene Black. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Maria Moran, and Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Prosecutions Kelly Donovan.
The charges against the defendants are accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.