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Operation Pipeline: A.G. Schneiderman Announces Take Down Of Heroin Trafficking Ring – Marking Fifth Surge Initiative Drug Bust

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2017

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OPERATION PIPELINE: A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES TAKE DOWN OF HEROIN TRAFFICKING RING – MARKING FIFTH SURGE INITIATIVE DRUG BUST

16 People Indicted And Charged With 103 Crimes In Investigation That Uncovered Over 2.8 Pounds Of Heroin

Schneiderman: We’re Committed To Cutting off the Pipeline That Fuels The Epidemic

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the indictment of 16 individuals for trafficking heroin throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Monroe County, and elsewhere in New York State – marking the fifth drug bust in his crackdown on suburban and upstate opioid and narcotics trafficking.

The 16 individuals arraigned today include both alleged narcotics suppliers and customers who resold the drugs. The indictments are the result of the Attorney General’s and New York State Police Department’s joint investigation, “Operation Pipeline,” part of Attorney General Schneiderman’s Suburban and Upstate Response to the Growing Epidemic “SURGE” initiative – a multi-pronged effort to target gangs and individuals who funnel heroin and other narcotics into suburban and upstate communities across New York State. Previous SURGE narcotics operations, such as “Operation Gravy Train” and “Operation Bricktown,” have recovered huge amounts of drugs, guns, and other paraphernalia related to drug trafficking.

“The opioid and narcotics crisis is destroying families across New York State – and we’re committed to cutting off the pipeline that is fueling this epidemic,” said Attorney General Schneiderman “Operation Pipeline and our S.U.R.G.E. Initiative demonstrate the productive partnership we’ve built with local law enforcement as we tackle this crisis head on.”

“Investigations into complex drug trafficking rings are most effective when law enforcement agencies work together, and this case is no different,” said State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II. “Through these partnerships, we will continue to target those who are bringing these dangerous and often deadly drugs into our neighborhoods.”

The indictment was unsealed today in Monroe County Supreme Court, with arrests made in a series of raids in Rochester, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, as well as in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, and California.

Like many suburban and upstate communities, Monroe County has seen a significant escalation in heroin-related deaths in recent years. According to a Rockefeller Institute for Government report, overall deaths from drug overdoses and chronic drug abuse in New York has increased 71% between 2010 and 2015.

Over the course of the investigation, which was led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York State Police Department, authorities monitored phone conversations between members of the heroin ring and their associates. As alleged in the indictment, the defendants conducted drug deals using cryptic and coded terminology –such as “a bomb” to refer to good quality heroin and number of “legs” to refer to the amount of heroin in each deal—transported narcotics from New York City to Rochester, and sold a total of $75,000 worth of heroin. Investigators seized over 2.8 pounds of heroin during the arrests.

The indictment charges the 16 individuals with a total of 103 crimes, including Operating as a Major Trafficker and various counts of Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A and B felonies), as well as Conspiracy to commit those crimes. Attorney General Schneiderman drafted the Operating as a Major Trafficker statute (P.L. 220.77) when he was a state senator. The law went into effect in November 2009 as part of reforms to the Rockefeller-era drug laws, and is the only felony narcotics charge in the state that carries a possible life sentence.

Those charged in the Monroe County June 9, 2017 indictment include:

Juan Carlos Romero Gomez a/k/a “Pancho”– Brooklyn, NY and Miami, FL

Omar Hernandez a/k/a “Buti”– Brooklyn, NY and California

Daniel Polanco a/k/a “Tito”– Brooklyn, NY

Santiago Waldron a/k/a “Santiago”– Bronx, NY

Angel D. Abreu a/k/a “Gordito” – Bronx, NY

Angel Colon, New York City area

Larry M. Polanco-Rodriguez – Perth Amboy, NJ

Julio Jonquet Castillo a/k/a “Julito” – Rochester, NY (currently incarcerated on unrelated charges)

Dagoberto Miranda a/k/a “Octavio” – Irondequoit, NY

Rafael Rodriguez – Rochester, NY

Jose Falcon a/k/a “Andy” – Rochester, NY

Rafael Montoya Morales – Rochester, NY

Samuel Maldonado – Rochester, NY

Miguel Rodriguez a/k/a “Gordo” – Rochester, NY

Jose Abril – Rochester, NY

Luis A. Rodriguez-Figueroa a/k/a “Colorao” – Rochester, NYand Springfield, MA

The investigation was conducted by the New York State Police and the Organized Crime Task Force Special Investigator Phillip Sindoni, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Peter Talty and Deputy Chief Eugene Black, and the overall supervision of Dominick Zarrella. 

The case is being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Wendy R. Whiting and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Kevin Kane, under the supervision of OCTF Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff and Chief Deputy Attorney General Jason Brown.

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

 

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