Joint Release By Attorney General Spitzer And Us Attorney Denise E. O'donnell

New York State Attorney General Spitzer and United States Attorney Denise E. O'Donnell announced today the unsealing of two indictments which were returned by a Federal Grand Jury on September 19, 2000. The first is a 152-count Second Superseding Indictment, which charges 36 defendants, including those listed below, with various violations of the Federal narcotics laws:

  • ENRIQUE CASTILLO, age 25, of Rochester, New York
  • RAMON NU?EZ, age 45, of Rochester, New York
  • PERFECTO RICHIEZ-CASTILLO, age 23, of Rochester, New York
  • CLETO CALDERON, age 38, of Rochester, New York
  • SALVADOR MEDINA, age 22, of Rochester, New York
  • RAYNEL MEDINA, age 21, of Rochester, New York
  • BRENDA CUEVAS, age 29, of Rochester, New York
  • NURIA MEDINA, age 23, of Rochester, New York
  • DIONISIA CASTILLO-RIJO, age 34, of Rochester, New York
  • ABRAHAM NU?EZ-CASTILLO, age 37, of Houston, Texas
  • BERNARDO ROBERTO CASTRO, age 35, of Rochester, New York
  • HIDIANA QUINONES-OQUENDO, age 33, of Rochester, New York
  • JOSE GIL, age 30, of Rochester, New York
  • ROSANNA ESTRELLA-MARRERO, age 28, of Lynn, Massachusetts
  • EINDA PINEDA, age 46, of Springfield, Massachusetts
  • REY RIVERA, age 34, of Rochester, New York
  • CARLOS EUGENIO SANTOS, age 33, of Rochester, New York
  • NORBERT VALVERDE, age 35, of East Rochester, New York
  • EDWARD DARRELL ROBINSON, age 32, of Rochester, New York
  • SCOTT DINGFELDER, age 33, of Rochester, New York
  • HIRAM ABRIL, age 31, of Buffalo, New York
  • LAVAR McKNIGHT, age 23, of Rochester, New York
  • SHELDON ALLEN, age 42, of Rochester, New York
  • WESLEY STREETER, age 29, of Niagara Falls, New York
  • KENNETH MILLER, age 36, of Niagara Falls, New York
  • JOSE ELIAS GONZALEZ, age 36, of New York, New York
  • JAYSON ANAYA RIVERA, age 24, of Buffalo, New York
  • BLAS SULIVERAS, age 31, of Buffalo, New York
  • JOSE RIVERA, age 35, of Buffalo, New York
  • JOSE CASTILLO-CEDE?O, age 33 of Buffalo, New York
  • PEDRO REYES-CAYETANO, age unknown, of Buffalo, New York
  • JUANA FRANCISCA DUARTE, age 42, of New York, New York

The second Indictment charges KEVIN BIVINS, age 39, of Niagara Falls, New York, JOSEPH MEDLEY, age 25, of Niagara Falls, New York, and DeQUINCEY SAUNDERS, age 39, of Grand Island, New York, with various violations of the Federal drug laws.

Each defendant is charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, which carries a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and up to life, a fine of $4,000,000, or both. ENRIQUE CASTILLO and PERFECTO RICHIEZ CASTILLO also are charged with engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 848(a), which carries a minimum term of imprisonment of 20 years and up to life. Various defendants also are charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841, conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h), and using a telephone in furtherance of a drug crime, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 843(b). EDWARD DARRELL ROBINSON is charged with possessing a handgun which had the serial number obliterated, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(k). The Second Superseding Indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $12,000,000 and other named assets alleged to be the proceeds of unlawful drug trafficking.

Four other individuals were charged in the Second Superseding Indictment; however, because they have not yet been arrested, Court documents disclosing their identities remain sealed. It should be noted that 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. (Disciplinary Rule 7-107(B)(6)).

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph J. Karaszewski and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert J. Lee stated that these indictments are the culmination of a year long investigation by Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies and the Federal Grand Jury into cocaine trafficking in Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York. The investigation involved use from October 1999 through March 2000 of court-authorized wiretaps installed on various cellular telephones used by the defendants. Approximately 18? kilograms of cocaine was seized in February and March from two vehicles intercepted near Buffalo and in Baton Rogue, Louisiana. This 18? kilograms is alleged to have been destined for Rochester for further distribution in Rochester, Niagara Falls, Buffalo and elsewhere.

An investigation by the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force in 1997 produced the first evidence of the Castillo narcotics operation described in today's indictments.

An OCTF investigation in 1999 produced evidence that the Castillo organization was still active in Rochester, Niagara Falls and Buffalo. The State's investigation was then merged with an on-going Drug Enforcement Agency and FBI investigation into narcotics trafficking in the Niagara Falls area.

Based on this information, the U.S. Attorney's Office was then able to obtain additional eavesdropping warrants, upon which today's indictments are largely based.

"We believe today's indictments should put a significant dent into drug dealing on Buffalo's Lower West Side and in Niagara Falls," said Attorney General Spitzer. "The Castillo group is a major drug gang in Western New York, moving an average of ten kilos a month into the area for at least the last two years. We know all too well the toll that drug dealing has taken on Buffalo, and with today's indictments we believe we've dried up a major supply line."

The Grand Jury originally returned an Indictment on May 2, 2000 charging 19 individuals with distributing cocaine in Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls. This action by the Grand Jury followed the March 23, 2000 arrest of 12 individuals, including ENRIQUE CASTILLO and PERFECTO REYES-CASTILLO, the alleged leaders of the organization, and the seizure of $165,000 in cash, alleged to be the proceeds of drug trafficking. Five other individuals indicted on May 2, 2000 were brought into custody after March 23, and two remain fugitives.

The two Indictments returned by the Grand Jury last week charge 20 additional individuals with participating in the drug conspiracy.

The following law enforcement agencies participated in the investigation:

  • U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration under the direction of Donald P. Augustine, Assistant Special Agent in Charge
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Bernard Tolbert, Special Agent in Charge
  • New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force under the direction of George Quinlan, Chief
  • New York State Police under the direction of James W. McMahon, Supervisor
  • United States Department of Housing and Urban Development under the direction of Ruth Ritzema, Special Agent in Charge
  • Erie County Sheriff's Department under the direction of Patrick Gallivan, Sheriff
  • Niagara County Sheriff's Department under the direction of Thomas Beilein, Sheriff
  • Niagara Falls Police Department under the direction of Christopher Carlin, Chief of Police
  • Rochester Police Department under the direction of Robert Duffy, Chief
  • Multi-Agency Drug Task Force under the direction of Sargent Philip Miglioratti
  • Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Durie Burns, Chief
  • U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service under the direction of M. Frances Holmes, District Director

The evidence was presented to the Grand Jury by Joseph J. Karaszewski, Assistant United States Attorney, who will handle the trial of the case with Robert J. Lee, New York State Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Special Assistant United States Attorney.

In commending the cooperative law enforcement effort in this matter, U.S. Attorney Denise E. O'Donnell stated:

"We realize that many of the problems facing us in Western New York are regional problems. So true, with crime, whether it be violent crime, or narcotics trafficking, we are seeing networks that extend from Rochester to Buffalo, to Niagara Falls to New York City or Houston, Texas and elsewhere in the Country. These crime problems demand a regional response, and to some extent, a state-wide and national response. We in the law enforcement community recognize that and have worked at and developed effective ways to respond to organizations which transcend local geographic boundaries. I would like to personally commend the many law enforcement agencies who have worked together on a state-wide and regional basis in this investigation. Through their effort, a significant drug organization has been dismantled and a major cocaine supply line to Western New York has been shut down."

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