New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, New York State Police, and the Massachusetts DEA Task Force announced on Friday the indictment of more than two dozen people for their roles in an alleged national heroin smuggling ring.
According to the release the investigation, “Operation Dirty Dope,” seized more than 33 kilos of heroin and 2 kilos of Fentanyl, with a total street value of more than $13 million.
Officials say the operation which began with the New York State Police Troop L Narcotics Enforcement Unit in April 2015 and netted alleged dealers and traffickers in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and New Jersey – is one of the largest heroin seizures ever in New York and is the single largest single seizure in the 46-year history of the state’s Organized Crime Task Force.
The release also said that 300 grams of cocaine, two semi-automatic handguns, and eight vehicles were seized.
“Operation Dirty Dope is another step in our multi-faceted effort to curb the heroin crisis that is destroying our communities,” Attorney General Schneiderman said.
“Our message to dealers and traffickers is simple: we will not tolerate anyone smuggling death into our state. I want to thank all of our law enforcement partners across the country, especially the New York State Police and the Massachusetts DEA Task Force, who helped bring these defendants to justice,” added Schneiderman.
According to the release the indictments, unsealed in Bronx County Court, detailed a sophisticated distribution ring that allegedly moved most of the drugs from Mexico to Tucson, Arizona.
From Arizona, the drugs were allegedly moved in hidden compartments in cars from Arizona to the Bronx, Washington Heights, and Pennsylvania.
From there, traffickers moved the drugs to sell in Suffolk County and the central Massachusetts town of Leominster.
The investigation utilized confidential informants, wiretaps, and physical and video surveillance.
In the wiretaps, the defendants can allegedly be heard discussing plans to mix other chemicals — including chicken anesthetic, Novocain, acetone roach killer, fentanyl.
Officials say during bail arguments, it was also alleged that traffickers used people addicted to heroin as human guinea pigs to test the quality of the cut heroin, flagrantly disregarding whether the laced heroin would kill them or not.
Those charged as major traffickers include:
- Daniel Abascal Pena
- Argenis Grullon, a/k/a “Alpha” or “Hanley”
- Reymon Rivera Ortiz, a/k/a “Dioco”
- Francisco Martinez Reyes, a/k/a “Viejo”
- Edwin Nunez Sierra, a/k/a La Papa
- Carlos Almonte, a/k/a Luis Rivera
- Carlos Hierro-Mata
- Luis Aude-Mora
Others indicted include:
- Manuel Castillano a/k/a “Cuñado”
- Manuel Amparo, a/k/a “Cacu”
- Tomas Salinas
- Hector Diaz, a/k/a “Shorty”
- Gisette Hernandez
- Jandhel Restituyo Vasquez
- Yeimy Matias
- Ryan Martinez
- Fernando Suero
- Oscarhyl Martinez Aude
- Manuel Torres, a/k/a “Raul”
- Amauris Sanchez
- Domingo Pena
- Juan Miguel Marte Javier
- Carlos Alberto Borges Perez
- Jose R. Rodriquez a/k/a “Rafa”
- Luis Martinez, a/k/a “Majimbe”
The release says those charged as major traffickers could face life in prison if convicted. All others could face 8 to 25 years if convicted.