OCT 01 (NEW YORK) –Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, Assistant Director-In-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Joseph A. D’Amico, the Superintendent of the New York State Police (NYSP), announced the arrest of 14 defendants and the unsealing of an Indictment today charging conspiracies to distribute kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine in Beacon, the Bronx, the City of Middletown, the City of Newburgh, and New Windsor, New York.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell stated: “Drug abuse claims more young people’s lives annually today than suicides, firearm deaths or school violence and unintentional drug overdose is the leading cause of injury death in 17 states, even more than automobile accidents. This case is a fine example of state, local and federal law enforcement to keep our neighborhoods safe from drug traffickers. I commend our law enforcement partners and our men and women who worked shoulder to shoulder on this investigation to make the streets safer for the residents and youth in the Newburgh area.”
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Drug traffickers long ago discovered opportunities to peddle their venom way beyond city limits, and fortunately the law enforcement community is there to intercept them. Today’s arrests exemplify our unrelenting efforts to remove drug dealers from our streets and make them safe for law-abiding citizens, city and country.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos stated: “Heroin and cocaine are a scourge on society, often victimizing our cities’ most vulnerable. Today’s arrest and subsequent charges bring us one step closer to cleaning up our streets.”
NY State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico stated: “A significant amount of drugs will not make it into our communities as a result of the dedication and due diligence of investigators and prosecutors working collaboratively to wipe out these types of drug operations. It is through this cooperative effort among our partners in law enforcement that we will continue to target, and remove from our streets those who choose to engage in this type of illegal and dangerous activity.”
The Indictment charges 14 people, ESMERALDO HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Esmo,” 32, ABNER ALVAREZ, JR., 30, ABNER ALVAREZ, SR., 47, JAMES L. CANELLI III, 36, EMILIO CASTILLO, a/k/a “E,” 28, ANTHONY CESPEDES, a/k/a “Anth,” 27, MICHAEL FIGUEROA, a/k/a “Scooby,” 36, BRADLEY FRIEDLANDER, 30, DARRELL LOPEZ, a/k/a “D,” 32, CARLOS MARTINEZ, 30, RAUL OQUENDO, 32, NYGEL RIVERA, 22, RAMON URIBE, a/k/a “Polo,” 38, and BERNARDO VALENTIN, a/k/a “Chickie,” 42, with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute kilogram quantities of cocaine and/or heroin.
Thirteen of the defendants charged in the Indictment unsealed today were arrested today or have previously been taken into custody. One, Darrell Lopez, remains at large as a fugitive. The defendants in custody are to be presented in White Plains federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge George A. Yanthis.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, the DEA, the New York State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Beacon Police Department, the City of Middletown Police Department, the City of Newburgh Police Department, the Town of Newburgh Police Department, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Gerber and Ilan Graff are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.