Leaders Of An Orlando-Area Heroin Trafficking Organization Sentenced To Federal Prison
Orlando – United States District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza today sentenced Angel Manuel Fontanez (32, Clermont) and his brother, Alexis Fontanez Nieves (29, Orlando), to 17 years and 2 months and 14 years in federal prison, respectively, for conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute heroin. Fontanez pleaded guilty on October 12, 2016, and Nieves pleaded guilty on October 21, 2016.
According to court documents and sentencing testimony, Fontanez and Nieves were leaders of an Orlando-based drug trafficking organization whose members referred to themselves as “La Compania” or “The Company.” The organization used a telephone number (“the heroin line”) that frequently changed to sell heroin to customers primarily in the Orlando tourist district, near International Drive. Customers would call the heroin line and arrange to purchase heroin from a member of the organization. The line changed hands from one member of the organization to the next, as heroin was sold during two 12-hour shifts, seven days a week.
Fontanez was the leader of the organization, and he traveled out-of-state to acquire kilograms of heroin that he transported back to the Orlando area and then repackaged into smaller, street-level quantities for distribution. He also managed and directed the activities of the organization’s street dealers.
Nieves helped Fontanez run the organization by repackaging bulk heroin into smaller baggies and supplying both heroin and cocaine to the street-level sellers. After Fontanez was arrested, Nieves directed the organization’s day-to-day activities by recruiting individuals to work for the organization, controlling the heroin line, providing heroin to the organization’s low-level sellers, and collecting money from the sellers at the conclusion of their shifts. The organization distributed approximately one kilogram of heroin every two weeks. During the time of the conspiracy, Fontanez was responsible for distributing at least 30 kilograms of heroin and Nieves was responsible for distributing at least 10 kilograms of heroin.
This case is the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation entitled “La Compania.” The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Orlando Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Kissimmee Police Department, the Osceola County Investigative Bureau, and the Virginia State Police. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew C. Searle.
The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation's drug supply.