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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 25, 2016

Twelve Members Of Orlando-Area Heroin Trafficking Crew Charged With Federal Drug Offenses

Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that 12 members of a drug trafficking organization have been charged with distributing street-level quantities of heroin in the Orlando area. A criminal complaint has been unsealed charging Steven Joseph Malham (55, Orlando), Angel Manuel Fontanez (31, Clermont), Pedro Juan Rivera-Aviles (63, Orlando), Jason Paul Manore (36, Orlando), Aref Hamdan (39, Orlando), Wilbert Joel Alequin-Pagan (21, Orlando), Robert Bryan Sautner (28, Winter Garden), Emmanuel Verges (26, Orlando), Constantine Kotsianidis (37, Orlando), Zuleyka Jeanette Colon-Rivera (24, Orlando), Ernesto Cabanas-Torres, (41, Orlando), and Domingo Perez-Lamboy (42, Orlando) with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin.  If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. 

According to the complaint, a drug trafficking organization whose members referred to themselves as “La Compania” or “the Company” acquired heroin from out of state. They then used a telephone number that changed frequently (the heroin line) to sell heroin to customers in Orlando, primarily in the tourist district, near International Drive.  Using information provided by informants, the Drug Enforcement Administration identified the organization’s heroin line and had informants and undercover agents call to set up controlled purchases of heroin.   Between November 2013 and October 2015, controlled purchases of heroin were made from each of the individuals charged in the criminal complaint.  These drug sales ranged from 5 baggies of heroin for $100 to 200 bags for $2,000.  More than 100 grams of heroin was sold to law enforcement officers during this investigation.      

A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed 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, and the Orlando Police Department.  It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew C. Searle and Embry J. Kidd.

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Updated February 25, 2016