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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 19, 2018

13 Members And Associates Of A Transnational Criminal Organization Charged In Federal Court With Firearms And Narcotics Offenses

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Richard Conway, Chief of the Port Chester Police Department, announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging CRISTIAN FERNANDEZ, JOHNNY FERNANDEZ, JESUS GONZALEZ, JUAN HERNANDEZ, JUAN PABLO RENDON-INZUNZA, NICOLE MAISONET, GABRIEL ORTIZ, a/k/a “Bebe,” MARIA ROLON, EDGARDO RUIZ, a/k/a “Roro,” HECTOR SANCHEZ, a/k/a “Tito,” GILBERT TORRES, FABIOLA VEGA, and JOHN VIEIRA, a/k/a “John-John,” with firearms and narcotics offenses.  The defendants have been charged as a result of their membership and participation in a transnational criminal organization that trafficked in firearms and narcotics, including heroin and methamphetamine.  Nine defendants were arrested or taken into federal custody on these charges today in various locations throughout the United States, namely Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.  ORTIZ, who is in custody on state charges in Rochester, New York, will be transferred to federal custody as soon as possible.  ROLON, GONZALEZ, and INZUNZA have not been arrested to date. 

Six of the defendants – CRISTIAN FERNANDEZ, JOHNNY FERNANDEZ, JUAN HERNANDEZ, GILBERT TORRES, FABIOLA VEGA, and JOHN VIEIRA – were arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith this afternoon in White Plains federal court.  Three other defendants –EDGARDO RUIZ, NICOLE MAISONET, and HECTOR SANCHEZ – will be presented today in federal courts in Maryland and Massachusetts. 

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, these defendants operated a nationwide drug distribution network to push heroin and methamphetamine onto U.S. streets.  Thanks to the dedicated work of the FBI and Port Chester Police, these defendants are behind bars and face significant prison time for their alleged crimes.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “The members of this criminal organization created a spider web of illegal drug sales, moving their drugs from south of the border and crisscrossing the states allegedly attempting covering their tracks.  These are the types of operations contributing to the deadly epidemic of overdoses in our country, indiscriminately killing people of all ages and races.  The FBI Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force and our law enforcement partners have created such a vital working relationship that we are having a significant impact in stopping the flow of illegal drugs at the source.” 

Port Chester Police Chief Richard Conway said:  “I'm very proud our Department’s role in this investigation, which is perhaps the largest scale operation we have ever undertaken. Today’s arrests represent an example to us all of what can be accomplished when agencies work together.”

According to the Indictment[1] unsealed today in White Plains federal court:

From 2017 to 2018, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, CRISTIAN FERNANDEZ, JOHNNY FERNANDEZ, JESUS GONZALEZ, JUAN HERNANDEZ, JUAN PABLO RENDON-INZUNZA, NICOLE MAISONET, GABRIEL ORTIZ, MARIA ROLON, EDGARDO RUIZ, HECTOR SANCHEZ, GILBERT TORRES, FABIOLA VEGA, and JOHN VIEIRA participated in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.  The criminal organization trafficked in both heroin and methamphetamine.  As part of the criminal organization, CRISTIAN FERNANDEZ and FABIOLA VEGA possessed firearms in furtherance of their narcotics trafficking and, together with co-defendants HERNANDEZ, RUIZ, and TORRES, participated in a conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license between 2017 and 2018.

*                *                *

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided in the attached table for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the Port Chester Police Department.  Mr. Berman also thanked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Westchester County Police Department, and the Peekskill Police Department for their assistance in this investigation. 

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Olga Zverovich and Sam Adelsberg are in charge of the prosecution.

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

United States v. Cristian Fernandez, et al.

CHARGE

DEFENDANTS

MAXIMUM PENALTIES

Count One

Narcotics Conspiracy

 

CRISTIAN FERNANDEZ

JOHNNY FERNANDEZ

JESUS GONZALEZ

JUAN HERNANDEZ,

JUAN PABLO RENDON-INZUNZA

NICOLE MAISONET

GABRIEL ORTIZ, a/k/a “Bebe”

MARIA ROLON

EDGARDO RUIZ, a/k/a “Roro”

HECTOR SANCHEZ, a/k/a “Tito”

GILBERT TORRES

FABIOLA VEGA

JOHN VIEIRA a/k/a “John-John”

As to defendants CRISTIAN FERNANDEZ, GONZALEZ, INZUNZA, ORTIZ, RUIZ, SANCHEZ, VEGA:

Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

 

As to defendants JOHNNY FERNANDEZ, HERNANDEZ, MAISONET, ROLON, TORRES, and VIEIRA:

40 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of five years in prison

 

Count Two

Conspiracy to Deal in Firearms without a License

 

CRISTIAN FERNANDEZ

JUAN HERNANDEZ

EDGARDO RUIZ, a/k/a “Roro” GILBERT TORRES

FABIOLA VEGA

Five years in prison

 

Count Three

Firearms Offense

FABIOLA VEGA

Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of five years in prison

Count Four

Firearms Offense

CRISTIAN FERNANDEZ

 

Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of five years in prison

 

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Press Release Number: 
18-128
Updated April 19, 2018