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Press Release

Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 121 Months’ For Conspiring to Distribute Heroin, Cocaine and Marijuana Across New York City

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York

Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, John Santos was sentenced by United States District Judge Frederic Block to 121 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years’ supervised release, following his December 2017 guilty plea to participating in a conspiracy to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin, five kilograms or more of cocaine, and marijuana. 

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ray Donovan, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division (DEA), Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigation, New York (HSI), Keith M. Corlett, Acting Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence.

“With today’s sentence, Santos will serve a significant prison term for his role as the leader of a large-scale drug trafficking ring,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “This Office and our law enforcement partners are responding to the opioid epidemic by vigorously investigating and prosecuting those like the defendant who seek to line their own pockets by selling dangerous drugs in our communities.”

“This sentencing is one of many successes in law enforcement’s battle against opioid abuse because it serves as a reminder that we are dedicated to identifying, investigating and dismantling drug trafficking organizations,” stated DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Donovan.  “Enforcement is a key factor in fighting opioid abuse and in stopping fatal overdoses in our cities because it takes away their means to wreak havoc.”

“Running the full gamut of drug trafficking, John Santos ran a criminal organization that flooded the streets on New York City with cocaine, heroin and marijuana,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez.  “Today’s sentencing proves once again that being employed as a drug dealer in this city comes with severe consequences.”

 “The sentencing of Santos sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this kind of activity anywhere in New York State,” stated NYSP Acting Superintendent Corlett.  “Santos had no regard for the damage his actions inflicted upon the communities where he trafficked narcotics. The State Police will continue to work aggressively with our federal and local partners to stop the flow of illegal and dangerous drugs onto our streets.”

 “The NYPD’s efforts to combat the far-reaching opioid crisis by ridding New York City streets of drug traffickers are greatly strengthened by our close partnerships with the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District and the Drug Enforcement Administration,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill.  “Anyone who deals in illegal narcotics should understand that the nation’s best investigators will stop at nothing to fight crime and keep safe all the people we serve.”

Between July 2016 and March 2017, Santos led a Bronx-based drug trafficking ring that distributed large amounts of heroin, cocaine and marijuana throughout New York City, including to out-of-state customers.  At the time of Santos’s arrest, DEA special agents seized quantities of those controlled substances, a kilogram press and other drug paraphernalia in his Bronx apartment.  Santos also served as the principal point of contact for the narcotics source of supply based in the Dominican Republic.

Two co-defendants, Robert Santos and Kevin Brito, previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section.  Assistant United States Attorney Ryan C. Harris is in charge of the prosecution.  

The Defendant:

Age:  36
Bronx, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-147 (FB)


John Marzulli
Tyler Daniels
United States Attorney’s Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated January 18, 2019

Drug Trafficking