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A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea Of Leader Of Heroin Trafficking Ring That Operated Throughout New York City

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2017

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A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES GUILTY PLEA OF LEADER OF HEROIN TRAFFICKING RING THAT OPERATED THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY

Christopher Quinones Will Be Sentenced To 7 Years In Prison; Heroin Ring That Quinones Operated Sold Drugs Laced With Animal Tranquilizer

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the guilty plea of Christopher Quinones, the leader of a large-scale heroin trafficking ring. Quinones, of Brooklyn, pled guilty today to Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony. He will be sentenced on April 21 to seven years in prison followed by three years of post-release supervision.

“We have no tolerance for dangerous drug trafficking rings like the one Christopher Quinones orchestrated,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “As New York continues to suffer through a serious opioid crisis, my office will continue to aggressively prosecute those criminals who fuel the cycle of addiction.”

Christopher Quinones was the leader of the heroin trafficking ring, and personally stamped the heroin he sold with “Times Up” and other monikers to signal to his customer that the product was coming from him.  The investigation, conducted by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force and the NYPD’s Brooklyn North Gang Squad, led to the recovery of over 1,000 glassines of heroin, some of which was cut with the animal tranquilizer ketamine. Quinones purchased and re-sold heroin on a daily basis out of several locations in Brooklyn.

At the time of his arrest in January 2017, Quinones attempted to flee police by running across rooftops while holding onto a book bag.  When he was apprehended, police discovered Quinones had filled his bag with his drug stash.  The bag included hundreds of glassines, bags of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. Quinones also had a scale and his stamping equipment, including ink, inside of the bag.

The investigation, which began in fall 2015, led to the arrests of 9 other individuals who were all charged with Conspiracy to commit Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree: 

  • Melvin Nieves, of Staten Island, New York
  • Raphael Rodriguez, of Queens, New York
  • Pablo Rodriguez, of Queens, New York
  • Walter Quinones, of Brooklyn, New York
  • Jose Perez, of Brooklyn, New York
  • Johnny Gonzalez, of Brooklyn, New York
  • Victor Beltran, of Brooklyn, New York
  • Saul Drullard, of Queens, New York
  • Brian Estevez, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The charges against the remaining defendants are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

In addition to prosecuting major drug trafficking rings, the Attorney General has taken numerous steps to combat the opioid crisis in New York. In June of 2011, Attorney General Schneiderman introduced state legislation for I-STOP, an online Prescription Monitoring Program or a “PMP,” that enables doctors and pharmacists to report and track controlled narcotics in real time. The OAG has also aggressively enforced laws that require parity in health plan coverage of mental health and addiction treatment, reaching agreements with six companies. Attorney General Schneiderman also announced national agreements with Cigna and Anthem, who both agreed to remove prior authorization requirements for medication-assisted treatment nationwide. The office has also reached agreements with Purdue Pharma and Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., to ensure that these opioid makers engage in responsible and legal marketing.

This case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Caitlin E. Carroll. Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff runs the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force.

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