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Justice News

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More than 50 People Indicted in Joint Federal-State Operation Targeting Heroin in Youngstown

A federal grand jury indicted 16 people for their roles in a drug trafficking conspiracy that brought heroin to Youngstown, law enforcement officials said.

An additional 37 people were charged in state court for violations related to the drug trafficking

The indictments were announced by Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office, Joseph P. Reagan, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Detroit Office, Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees, Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene and Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains.

“This group brought heroin into Youngstown and used firearms to do it,” Dettelbach said. “The FBI and Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force did a tremendous job in disrupting this drug pipeline.”

“Fifty-three individuals were taken off the streets today as a result of an in-depth, almost two-year joint investigation,” Anthony said. “These collaborative efforts demonstrate that drugs and violence will not be tolerated by law enforcement.”

Sheriff Greene and Chief Lees said in a joint statement: “Today's roundup of suspects is a result of a lengthy investigation and is an excellent example of the cooperation and collaboration between local and federal agencies in the effort to stem the tide of the heroin epidemic.”

Named in the 119-count federal indictment are: Jean Carlos Martinez, 31, of Campbell; Alberto Delgado, 28, of Youngstown; Chael Soto, 28, of Youngstown; Steven M. Filimon, 28, of Youngstown; Michael L. Schmidt, 35, of New Castle, Penn.; Osvaldo Rivera, age and hometown unknown; Carlos Cruz, 39, of Youngstown; Alexander Torres, 43, of Youngstown; Florentino Torres, 45, of Youngstown; Edgardo Esteras, 23, of Campbell; Juan F. Ortiz, age unknown, of Bayamon, P.R.; Felix Calderon, 25, of San Juan, P.R.; Rafael J. Medina-Vazquez, 35, of Youngstown; Amanda J. Leskey, 25, of Youngstown; Yolanda R. Rivera, 55, of Youngstown, and Jennifer L. Hake, 28, of Youngstown.

According to the indictment, all 16 people knowingly conspired to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute heroin between January 2012 and November 30, 2014. Martinez supplied heroin to Delgado, Soto, Cruz, Alexander Torres, Florentino Torres, Estaras, Ortiz, and Rivera for distribution in the Youngstown area. Delgado supplied heroin to Schmidt for distribution in the New Castle, Pennsylvania, area and to Filimon and Hake for distribution in the Youngstown area, according to the indictment.

Delgado and Filimon possessed firearms to protect themselves and their drug proceeds. Cellular telephones, code words and phrases were used by the co-conspirators to facilitate their drug trafficking activities, according to the indictment.

In addition, multiple defendants are charged with distributing heroin in the Youngstown, Ohio area and possessing firearms to further their drug trafficking activities.

A related eight-count federal indictment was filed charging Filimon and Randy A. Triplett, 24, of Youngstown, with drug trafficking crimes. Filimon and Triplett conspired and possessed with the intent to distribute and distributed heroin and cocaine from May 2014 through November 30, 2014.   Triplett supplied heroin and cocaine to Filimon for distribution in the Youngstown area, according to the indictment.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David M. Toepfer.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 19, 2015