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Press Release

Drug Dealer Charged In Manhattan Federal Court For Selling Heroin And Counterfeit Oxycodone Over The Internet

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Defendant Arrested With Approximately 32 Kilograms of Illicit Prescription Pills In His Possession

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James J. Hunt, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), James P. O’Neill, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), George P. Beach II, the Superintendent of the New York State Police (“NYSP”), and Angel M. Melendez, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced today the arrest of CRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ, who distributed through the U.S. mail heroin, oxycodone and other prescription drugs that were illegally sold over the Internet and on “dark web” marketplaces.  When RODRIGUEZ was arrested yesterday, the DEA and USPIS seized approximately 32 kilograms of prescription drugs that were in his apartment.  The defendant was presented yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis in Manhattan federal court.     


Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, Cristian Rodriguez used the anonymity of the internet to peddle massive quantities of addictive pain killers without valid prescriptions.  Hiding behind computers, Rodriguez and his co-conspirators allegedly sold and shipped multiple kilograms of highly addictive prescription drugs and potentially lethal opioids.  Thanks to the outstanding work of our law enforcement partners, Rodriguez has been arrested and his dangerous business has been taken offline.”

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said:  “Anonymity is a drug trafficker’s friend and law enforcement’s foe.  Yesterday’s street corner dealer has been replaced by the dark web that enables criminal activity and drug addiction.  Online illicit marketplaces challenge law enforcement, but this investigation demonstrates how joint efforts can lead to the arrest of an alleged major drug distributor based in New York City.”

USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett said: “The opioid crisis has become a national emergency impacting the lives of so many unsuspecting families.  Postal Inspectors, along with their law enforcement partners, are determined to put a stop to the distribution of illegal narcotics, safeguarding the American public.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “This defendant attempted to use the anonymity of the internet to peddle heroin, counterfeit oxycodone, and other prescription drugs to those battling serious addiction.  Those who profit on at the expense of others’ well-being will be investigated and prosecuted, aggressively. Today’s arrest is the latest example of our continued commitment.”

NYSP Superintendent George P. Beach II said:  “This arrest is another example of how dedicated police work and strong law enforcement partnerships are succeeding in keeping dangerous narcotics from infiltrating our neighborhoods.  Criminals who illegally sell counterfeit prescription drugs are putting our communities as risk.  These pharmaceuticals, when not taken under the supervision of a doctor, can be highly addictive and destroy lives.  I commend the hard work of the Strike Force and all of our law enforcement partners as they fight to keep drugs off our streets and work to prevent prescription drug abuse.”

HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Angel Melendez said:  “These multi-agency task forces are essential in the fight against the illegal proliferation of potentially deadly and highly-addictive prescription drugs.  The arrest of the defendant and the significant seizures announced today ensure that these drugs will never make it into our communities to do untold harm.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint and statements made in Manhattan federal court:[[1]]    


Since at least May 2016, RODRIGUEZ and his co-conspirators anonymously sold and distributed controlled substances over the Internet via online marketplaces and “dark web” sites.  RODRIGUEZ shipped various prescription drugs, including counterfeit oxycodone, which was actually made of heroin and other substances, to individuals across the United States.  RODRIGUEZ maintained a stockpile of these drugs in his apartment in the Bronx, New York.  A search of RODRIGUEZ’s residence at the time of his arrest uncovered, among other things, approximately 32 kilograms of prescription drugs, shipping supplies, drug paraphernalia, money transfer records, and electronics typically used in the operation of online narcotics distribution schemes.                


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RODRIGUEZ, 43, of the Dominican Republic, was charged with one count of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute heroin and oxycodone, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. 


Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the DEA’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force.  The Strike Force comprises agents and officers of the DEA, the New York City Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the New York State Police, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigative Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the New York National Guard, the Clarkstown Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Port Washington Police Department, and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.  The Strike Force is partially funded by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (“HIDTA”), which is a federally funded crime fighting initiative and part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDTEF”) program.


In an effort to help prevent prescription drug abuse and theft, the DEA and its local law enforcement, community, and tribal partners are offering the public its 14th opportunity in seven years to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  This Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., individuals can take pills and other solid forms of medication to one of almost 5,000 collection sites manned by more than 4,000 partners nationwide.  Individuals can find nearby collection sites at  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.


This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Nicolas Roos is in charge of the prosecution.


The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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

Updated October 24, 2017

Prescription Drugs
Press Release Number: 17-345