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Press Release

Five Men Charged in Syracuse Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York
Agents Seize More than 62,000 Bags of Heroin

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Four men from Syracuse and one from New York City (the Bronx) have been charged with operating a heroin distribution ring from which investigators seized over 62,000 individual bags of heroin, totaling in excess of two kilograms, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Field Division. 

The following men are charged in two federal criminal complaints with being members of a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin and fentanyl:

  • Gavin Ballog, 29, Syracuse, New York
  • Yan Morales, 29, Syracuse, New York
  • Brian Morales, 28, Syracuse, New York
  • Juan Santa, 27, Syracuse, New York
  • Jesus Manuel Lopez Mendez, 34, New York City (the Bronx)

Defendants Ballog, Y. Morales, B. Morales, and Santa were arrested and charged on February 2, 2019. Jesus Manuel Lopez Mendez was in the custody of immigration authorities when he was arrested and charged today.  The criminal complaints allege the seizure of over 62,000 individual bags of heroin, totaling in excess of two kilograms, and two handguns, as part of an investigation utilizing court-ordered wiretaps. All five defendants have appeared in federal court in Syracuse and are held without bail. The charges filed against the five men carry mandatory minimum sentences of ten years and maximum sentences of life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000,000.00, and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

The charges in the complaints are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York State Police, and the City of Auburn (New York) Police Department, and Investigators from the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman.

Updated February 15, 2019

Drug Trafficking