ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCES 29 INDICTED IN CONNECTION WITH PUERTO RICO TO NEW YORK NARCOTICS PIPELINE
Cuomo’s Organized Crime Task Force, The New York State Police, Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, and other Partners conduct ‘Operation Liberty’
Leads to Seizures of Cocaine, Heroin, Guns and Cash
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (October 27, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced narcotics trafficking and other charges have been filed against 29 individuals accused of taking part in a drug distribution network that was funneling cocaine and heroin from Puerto Rico and Philadelphia to Rochester, Buffalo and elsewhere in New York.
As part of a multi-agency investigation code-named “Operation Liberty,” federal, state and local law enforcement agents led by the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), The New York State Police and the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team conducted a 6 month long investigation that included undercover operations, hundreds of hours of covert surveillance, and wiretaps. The investigation led to the seizure of more than 3 1/2 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of $140,000, a half pound of heroin with an estimated street value of $130,000, eight guns, and in excess of $250,000 cash.
Among those indicted was Roberto Rivera-Diaz who is the network's narcotics source in Puerto Rico. According to the charges, Rivera-Diaz arranges with co-conspirator Miguel Saez who resides in Buffalo to send shipments of narcotics via the United States mail to his brother Luis Saez and his associates in Rochester, where a portion of the narcotics were prepared and distributed. Rivera-Diaz and the Saez brothers are charged with the Operating as a Major Trafficker (§220.77(1) of the Penal Law of the State of New York) that went into effect last year as part of changes to the Rockefeller-era drug laws and is the only felony narcotics charge in the state that carries a possible life sentence.
“Working with our law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local level, we were able to remove guns from our streets and stop this flow of illegal narcotics into our neighborhoods,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Since 2007, this coordinated approach has resulted in the seizure of dozens of guns and charges against hundreds of individuals across the state. In this case, all those indicted have been charged with felonies, and the alleged ringleaders are facing possible life sentences.”
These three indictments are the culmination of a major investigation led by Attorney General Cuomo’s OCTF and is part of his ongoing efforts to combat narcotic trafficking and other crimes through his Upstate Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Initiative.
Cuomo’s Organized Crime Task Force has conducted a multitude of operations in cooperation with local, state, and federal authorities over the last four years and has charged more than 530 defendants and seized more than $6 million in drugs and cash, as well as dozens of guns.
The first indictment, which was unsealed today in Monroe County Supreme Court, contains 38 counts, charges 12 people with crimes including Operating as a Major Trafficker, as well as various Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A,B,C,D felonies) and Conspiracy in the second degree (class B felony) in relation to their involvement in the narcotics trafficking operation:
- Roberto Rivera-Diaz--31 of Puerto Rico
- Luis E. Saez-- 27 or Rochester
- Luis M. Saez, a/k/a Miguel Saez-- 25 of Buffalo
- Nelson Alvarado-- 36 of Buffalo
- Ramon Felix-- 47 of Buffalo
- Luis Angel Rodriguez Figueroa, a/k/a Colorao-- 22 of Rochester
- Edel Gonzalez-- 26 of Rochester
- Jesus Jorge Guzman, a/k/a Pocho: 25 of Rochester
- Rosa Heredia-- 34 of Buffalo
- Jose Marcial-- 44 of Buffalo
- Juan Perez-- 47 of Rochester
- Luis A. Saez, a/k/a Luiscito-- 29 or Rochester
The second indictment, which was unsealed today in Monroe County Supreme Court, contains 29 counts, charges 12 people with crimes including various Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A,B,C,D felonies) and Conspiracy in the second degree (class B felony) in relation to their involvement in the narcotics trafficking operation:
- Daniel Alden-- 21 of Canandaigua
- Julio Acosta, a/k/a Pelu-- 31 of Philadelphia
- Julio Cruz-- 38 of Rochester
- Raymond Cruz-- 36 of Rochester
- Brandon Eck-- 30 of Attica
- Jarred Farella-- 29 of Oswego
- Jorge Figueroa-- 34 of Rochester
- Adam Herb-- 31 of Rochester
- Joseph McGuinness-- 26 or Rochester
- Jose Ramos-- 25 of Rochester
- Johnny Rodriguez, a/k/a Enard-- 35 of Rochester.
- Allen Russell-- 30 of Rochester
The third indictment, which was unsealed today in Monroe County Supreme Court, contains 20 counts, charges 5 people with crimes including various Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A,B,C,D felonies) and Conspiracy in the second degree (class B felony) in relation to their involvement in the narcotics trafficking operation:
- Lisandro Martinez-- 29 of Rochester
- Juan Rodriguez, a/k/a Manny-- 36 or Rochester
- Edgardo Santiago-- 37 of Rochester
- Jose A. Santiago-- 25 of Rochester
- Jose L. Santiago-- 24 of Rochester
Numerous other agencies assisted in the investigation including: NY Air National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, Monroe County Sheriff's Office, US Border Patrol, Buffalo Police Department, Orleans County Task Force, City of Rochester Police Department, and Attica Police Department. Attorney General Cuomo thanked and commended these agencies.
Attorney General Cuomo thanks and commends Rochester Police Department Special Investigator Philip Sindoni and OCTF Special Investigator Tim MacConaghy for their excellent work on this case.
The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General James Mindell under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General of OCTF Peri Alyse Kadanoff.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.