Attorney General James Announces Takedown of Major Narcotics Trafficking Ring in Finger Lakes Region
Investigation Also Led to the Recovery of 19 Illegal Firearms and Over $440,000 in Cash
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced the takedown of a major narcotics trafficking ring that flooded communities in the Finger Lakes with fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, and other dangerous drugs. The takedown resulted in 177 charges against 48 defendants related to their participation in this trafficking network that operated in Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, and Yates counties. This operation resulted in the seizure of more than 10 kilograms of fentanyl and more than 10 kilograms of cocaine, with a total value of more than $9 million. Investigators also seized 19 firearms, including assault weapons and ghost guns, and more than $440,000 in cash.
“Our communities are being ravaged by fentanyl, opioids, and other dangerous drugs, and this organized crime group was fueling the fire,” said Attorney General James. “The dozens of individuals arrested and charged as a result of this investigation were flooding local communities with drugs, and were armed with deadly weapons to support their illegal activities. This major takedown was only possible because of my office’s strong connection with local law enforcement, and I thank my colleagues for their partnership. I will always use the great powers of my office to help support local communities as we all work to build a safer New York.”
The two-year investigation was led by the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and brought together the resources of more than a dozen state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office.
The investigation included hundreds of hours of covert surveillance and wiretaps and originated in Wayne County.
Phase One: Wayne County
As alleged in the indictment, the investigation began in Wayne County and identified three interconnected groups that were responsible for selling drugs in Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, and Yates counties. The first phase focused on traffickers based in Wayne County and was centered around Michael Danzey and his brother, Terrance Raggs. Danzey and Raggs were the primary sources of cocaine for this operation and distributed to a network of customers throughout Wayne County.
During the investigation, investigators also uncovered that in June 2021, Danzey attempted to murder an individual that he believed was stealing from him. The individual sustained multiple serious injuries as a result of the shooting, but ultimately survived. In the aftermath of the shooting, Danzey asked his brother, Raggs, to conceal evidence from law enforcement. In addition to charges related to drug trafficking, Danzey is also being charged with attempted murder in the second degree and Raggs is being charged with hindering prosecution in the second degree.
Aaron Sweeney and Ryan Faniel were two other central figures who sold cocaine and oxycodone in Wayne, Monroe, and Ontario counties. As the investigation developed, it was further revealed that Sweeney was also sourcing drugs from individuals in Rochester.
Phase Two: Avenue D, Rochester
Investigators learned that Sweeney obtained cocaine from Raquel Torres a/k/a “Ma,” of 236 Avenue D, Rochester, New York, leading to the discovery of distributors and resellers living within the 200 block of Avenue D. In addition to Torres, investigators learned that multiple drug resellers were living within a few blocks of each other on Avenue D including Alexis Broida a/k/a “Lexi,” Jacquinn Edwards, Jasmine Ofray, and Raymond Vega. This single block in the city of Rochester was a major trafficking hub that distributed these dangerous drugs throughout the region. Buyers would be directed to different houses on Avenue D to pick up their drugs, including houses referred to as the “Green House,” the “Blue House,” the “Yellow House,” and the “Camper” based upon their exterior appearance. These distribution houses were all run by Vega.
Phase Three: The Rivera Family
The investigative team learned that many of the Avenue D narcotics sellers had a single source for their cocaine supply, Luis Rivera. This information led to the third phase of the investigation, and through intercepted communications and other evidence, investigators established that Luis Rivera and his sons, Luis Emmanuel a/k/a “Manny” Rivera, Natan a/k/a/ “Nate” Rivera, and Jacob a/k/a “J” Rivera, along with their associates, were operating a multi-kilogram level fentanyl and cocaine distribution network. The Riveras managed their operation out of a residential building in Rochester where Luis was the superintendent and where his son Manny lived. Luis and J Rivera arranged large shipments of fentanyl from California to Rochester, and several of these shipments were intercepted by investigators. J Rivera, who was serving time in federal prison in Louisiana at the time, smuggled contraband cellphones into prison to manage these shipments and the overall drug trafficking operation. The Riveras also sold fentanyl in pill form, claiming that it was oxycodone, putting their buyers at even greater risk.
Luis and J Rivera have been charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.
They also created a limited liability company (LLC) to launder money from their drug operation to purchase investment properties. Luis, J, and Manny have also been charged with Money Laundering in the Second Degree.
“I would like to thank Attorney General James for her partnership and support throughout this investigation, as well as all of our law enforcement partners who assisted with this case,” said Wayne County Sheriff Rob Milby. “Three years ago, the roots of this investigation delved into the sources of illicit narcotics in Wayne County and quickly led to other areas of the Finger Lakes Region. As a result of our collective work, we will prevent the overdose deaths that we have been seeing so much of, and hold accountable those who have been on law enforcement’s radar and are responsible for harming our communities with dangerous drugs. In addition to the arrests and seizures of illegal weapons, drugs, and proceeds through this investigation, the quality of life in Western New York has also just improved tremendously.”
“I would like to thank and give credit to the Attorney General’s office for their hard work in this matter,” said Wayne County District Attorney Mike Calarco. “Through the combined offices of the New York Attorney General and the Wayne County District Attorney’s office we have been able to make Wayne County safer. It is a testament of what can be accomplished when multiple law enforcement agencies partner and work together.”
“The Ontario County Sheriff’s Office is proud to have partnered with our state and local partners in this extensive investigation involving sales of illicit drugs,” said Ontario County Sheriff David J. Cirencione. “All members of law enforcement across this region are united in working to rid our neighborhoods of these drugs that poison our communities. Those apprehended in this operation today and any others involved in the distribution of narcotics had better take notice that we are watching. We will continue to pool our resources in pursuing you until you and your illegal drugs are off of our streets.”
Seized drugs and guns.
The takedown marked another major drug bust in the Attorney General’s Suburban and Upstate Response to the Growing Epidemic (S.U.R.G.E.) Initiative, a law enforcement effort that brings together state and local law enforcement to target New York’s growing — and often violent — heroin, fentanyl, opioid, and narcotics trafficking networks. Since launching in 2017, SURGE has taken 879 alleged traffickers off the streets.
The 48 individuals who were charged with various crimes in relation to their involvement in the narcotics trafficking operation, that include various counts of Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (Class A, B, and C felonies), and Conspiracy to Commit those crimes, include:
Treshon Alexander, a/k/a “Tre,” 30 years old, Rochester, NY
Tyrone Berry, 41 years old, Lyons, NY
Alexis Broida, a/k/a/ “Lexi,” 30 years old, Rochester, NY
Derrick Brown, 39 years old, Lyons, NY
Geneva Rivera, a/k/a “Geneva Brown,” 31 years old, Grand Island, NY
James Butler, 76 years old, Newark, NY
Michael Danzey, 38 years old, Sodus, NY
Jacquinn Edwards, 36 years old, Rochester, NY
Ryan Faniel, 35 years old, Palmyra, NY
Romanis Glanton, 44 years old, Newark, NY
Jeanette Gonzalez, 48 years old, Rochester, NY
Jay Quanna Arrimintha Green, 28 years old, Rochester, NY
Karmalus Herrington, 48 years old, Newark, NY
Christopher Johnston, 27 years old, Penn Yann, NY
Alicia Lannon, 34 years old, Palmyra, NY
Daniel Littles, 35 years old, Lyons, NY
Carlos Luna, a/k/a “Flaco,” 46 years old, Rochester, NY
Christina Martin, 44 years old, Newark, NY
Nelson Martinez, 44 years old, Rochester, NY
Randolph Mattice, 55 years old, Canandaigua, NY
Brooke Miner, 25 years old, Newark, NY
Jamaal Moody, 32 years old, Newark, NY
Megan Murray, 31 years old, Fairport, NY
Jasmine Ofray, 36 years old, Rochester, NY
Andrea Parker, 51 years old, Palmyra, NY
Terrance Raggs, 45 years old, Sodus, NY
Tyquail Raggs, 24 years old, Sodus, NY
Jacob Rivera, a/k/a “J,” 32 years old, Rochester, NY
Luis Rivera, 66 years old, Rochester, NY
Luis Emmanuel Rivera, a/k/a “Manuel,” a/k/a “Manny,” 28 years old, Rochester, NY
Natan Rivera, a/k/a “Nate,” 25 years old, Rochester, NY
Daniel Rodriguez, 33 years old, Rochester, NY
Joshua Rodriguez, 28 years old, Rochester, NY
Xavier Roman, a/k/a “Javi,” 47 years old, Rochester, NY
Ulysses Sanchez, a/k/a “Chichi,” 34 years old, Rochester, NY
William Sanchez, a/k/a “Billy,” 45 years old, Rochester, NY
Matthew Simmons, 38 years old, Lyons, NY
Amber Streeter, 35 years old, Newark, NY
Aaron Sweeney, 23 years old, Fairport, NY
David Sweeney, 44 years old, Macedon, NY
Richard Taft, 36 years old, Lyons, NY
Nicholas Tandle, 39 years old, Geneva, NY
Victoria Tandle, 25 years old, Lyons, NY
Raquel Torres, a/k/a “Ma,” 45 years old, Rochester, NY
Raymond Vega, 56 years old, Rochester, NY
Scott Wheaton, 45 years old, Pulaski, NY
William Wheaton, 43 years old, Clifton Springs, NY
Brandon Williams, 30 years old, Savannah, NY
Michael Danzey is also charged with Attempted Murder and Assault in the First Degree, and related crimes, and Terrance Raggs is charged with Hindering Prosecution.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
“The opioid crisis has caused thousands of fatal overdoses each year, but today’s drug takedown is bringing us one step closer to ridding Monroe County of harmful drugs and ensuring the safety of our residents,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “From taking on opioid manufacturers to going after illegal drug traffickers, I thank Attorney General James for her unwavering commitment to protecting the health and well-being of New Yorkers.”
“Opioids and other illegal drugs continue to fuel violence in Rochester and cause suffering for those who struggle with addiction or lose loved ones to overdoses,” said Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans. “The use and sale of illegal drugs also harms the innocent neighbors where this activity takes place. I want to thank Attorney General Letitia James for her leadership on this critical concern and making it a priority to get dangerous drugs off our streets and stop drug trafficking in our state. Law enforcement partnerships play a major role in our efforts to create a safe, equitable, and prosperous Rochester by inspiring hope and delivering opportunity for everyone.”
Attorney General James would like to thank the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, Wayne County District Attorney’s Office, Wayne County Probation Department, Canandaigua Police Department, Newark Police Department, Geneva Police Department, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Rochester Police Department, the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, United States Probation Department, Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, California Sheriff’s Office, New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Rochester office, the Monroe Crime Analyst Center, and the United States Postal Inspector’s Office.
The investigation was led by Wayne County Detective Roger LaClair and OAG OCTF Detectives Phillip Sindoni and David Guidici, under the supervision of OCTF Supervising Investigator Timothy MacConaghy and retired Supervising Investigator Thomas M. Wolf, OCTF Assistant Chief Investigator John Monte and Deputy Chief Investigator Andrew Boss. The Attorney General’s Investigations Division is led by Chief Oliver Pu-Folkes.
The case is being prosecuted by OAG OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Senior Investigative Counsel James J. Mindell, with the assistance of Legal Support Analyst Sean McCauley and OCTF Confidential Clerk Theresa Rowe, under the supervision of Upstate OCTF Deputy Chief Maria Moran. Nicole Keary is the Deputy Attorney General in Charge of OCTF. The Criminal Justice Division is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Jose Maldonado. Both the Investigations Division and the Criminal Justice Division are overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.