Eight Charged In White Plains Federal CourtWith Heroin Trafficking In Middletown
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, Assistant Director-In-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Ramon Bethencourt, the Chief of the City of Middletown Police Department, and Joseph A. D’Amico, the Superintendent of the New York State Police, announced the arrest of eight defendants and the unsealing of an Indictment charging a conspiracy to distribute over a kilogram of heroin in and around Middletown, New York.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “To those heroin traffickers in Middletown who still have not gotten the message, let me be clear: Together with our federal and local partners, we will not rest until heroin is off our streets, and until those who supply this destructive drug are brought to justice.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos stated: “Today, we announce the arrest of eight individuals who sought to traffic heroin in the Middleton area. The FBI remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate those who introduce drugs and other dangers into our neighborhoods.”
NY State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico stated: “These arrests and the seriousness of the charges these traffickers face show the commitment our law enforcement partners have in keeping dangerous drugs off our streets. Today, eight defendants are behind bars and the heroin they intended to distribute will never reach the Middletown community."
The Indictment charges eight defendants, FREDDIE SERRANO, a/k/a “Jose,” 53, GISELLE SANTANA,33, JOHN BAKER, a/k/a “Johnny Joint,” 38, DEBRA JEAN BLISS, 61, ANTONIO DIAZ-PEREZ, a/k/a “TONE,” 39, JOSEPH FREEHILL, 36, FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Tito,” 58, and ANGEL SOSTRE-SOSTRE, a/k/a “Nito,” 47, with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, over a kilogram of heroin.
The charge against each defendant and the corresponding maximum potential penalties are outlined in the chart attached to this press release. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Seven of the defendants charged in the Indictment were arrested today. Five were presented in White Plains federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy; two are scheduled to be presented tomorrow, and the eighth is currently in the Orange County Jail on unrelated charges.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, the City of Middletown Police Department, the New York State Police, the Orange County Sherriff’s Department, the Town of Wallkill Police Department, the Orange County District Attorney and the Sullivan County District Attorney.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Gerber and Jessica K. Feinstein 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.
CHARGE(S) DEFENDANTS MAXIMUM PENALTIES
(Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin.) FREDDIE SERRANO,
Life in prison
a/k/a “Johnny Joint,”
DEBRA JEAN BLISS,
a/k/a “Tito,” and
Mandatory minimum: 10 years in prison