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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Utica/Rome Area Residents Arrested In Heroin Case

Indictments Charge Large Quantities of Heroin Distributed In Oneida County

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – 21 defendants from the Utica and Rome area were arrested this morning on federal heroin charges, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for the region and New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico. Two indictments charge a total of 21 defendants for their involvement in the distribution of significant quantities of heroin. One indictment charges Edmaldo Figuero-Martinez, a/k/a Po, and 13 others with participating in a conspiracy to distribute over a kilogram of heroin in Oneida County, and 3 people with maintaining premises in Rome and Utica for heroin distribution. The other indictment charges Ernesto Alequin, a/k/a Cano, and 6 others with participating in a conspiracy to distribute over a kilogram of heroin and another man with maintaining premises in Rome for heroin distribution. Four defendants – Jamel Febus, a/k/a Shrimp, Jeremy Delmoral, Darius Wright, and Yousif Aluhujazi, a/k/a Jacob – are charged with having participated in both heroin conspiracies.

This morning, all 21 defendants were arrested and 11 federal search warrants were executed. The arrests follow a three month multi-agency investigation that included court authorized electronic eavesdropping warrants (wiretaps) obtained through federal court.

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said: "The heroin epidemic has hit central New York, and we are hitting back. This case illustrates our commitment to bringing together a broad array of local, state, and federal agencies to preserve public safety and protect public health with swift and strong action. The arrests today disrupt the supply of kilograms of heroin so they do not destroy lives and devastate families."

"Today, the number of Americans who abuse heroin is at epic proportions. The defendants arrested today sought to capitalize on this deadly epidemic by turning heroin addicts into heroin dealers, doubling their customer base in the Utica and Rome areas. Law enforcement focused investigative efforts on this heroin distribution crew, resulting in 21 arrests, effectively dismantling this organization responsible for fueling heroin addiction," said DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt.

"I commend our federal and local law enforcement partners for their work in putting these drug dealers out of business -- these arrests would not be possible without their continued collaboration. Our message is simple: If you bring heroin or any other illegal drug into our communities, we will find you and put you behind bars. Heroin is a dangerous and often times deadly drug, and we will use every resource available to shut down these operations," said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico.

A chart of the defendants, their charges, and maximum potential sentences is attached.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York State Police-Community Narcotics Enforcement Team-Central (NYSP-CNET), City of Rome Police Department, City of Utica Police Department, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, and Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. United States Attorney Carla Freedman.

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

Updated August 4, 2015