Fourteen Charged With Kilogram-Quantity Heroin Trafficking In City Of Middletown
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Ramon Bethencourt Jr., 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 14 defendants and the unsealing of an Indictment charging a conspiracy to distribute kilogram quantities of heroin in and around Middletown, New York.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “This case is yet another example of this Office’s unrelenting efforts at purging the Hudson Valley of alleged violent drug trafficking gangs through the coordinated efforts of the FBI and our state and local law enforcement partners.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos stated: “The arrests today target individuals who allegedly were involved in moving heroin into Middletown. These types of crimes are all too common in this area and the FBI’s Safe Streets Taskforce will continue to work with our partners to eradicate violent gangs and drugs in our communities.”
Middletown Police Department Chief Ramon Bethencourt Jr. stated: “Along with Mayor DeStefano, I want to praise the work of all of the law enforcement agencies involved. Once again our commitment to working together will have a positive influence on the quality of life for our residents. By ridding our streets of these drugs we are reducing the violent crimes that go along with them, making the City of Middletown a safer community.”
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico stated: “A significant amount of heroin will not make it onto the streets of Middletown as a result of the dedication and due diligence of local, state and federal investigators and prosecutors working collaboratively to put a stop to these types of drug operations. It is through this cooperative effort among our partners in law enforcement that we will continue to target, and remove from our streets those who choose to engage in this type of illegal and dangerous activity. I thank all of the members of this team for their hard work and dedication to the citizens of New York.”
According to allegations in the Indictment unsealed in White Plains federal court today:
Fourteen people, MIGUEL MARGOLLA, 29, JESUS IRIZARRY NEGRON, a/k/a/ “Pablo,” 22, MARIO MARGOLLA, 32, ROBERTO MARGOLLA, 22, CARLOS MARTINEZ, a/k/a “B-Way,” 33, SHARLIM OMAR MORALES, a/k/a “Moreno,” 32, RICARDO RAMOS-MENDEZ, a/k/a “Keeke,” a/k/a “Brian,” 23, TEDDY RIVERA, a/k/a “Teddy Guns,” a/k/a “TG,” 20, CHRISTINA RODRIGUEZ, 23, JOHNATHAN RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “J-Whispers,” a/k/a “Bigz,” 26, MANUEL SANTIAGO, 28, JESSICA SLOCUM, 24, ALEX TORRES, a/k/a “Broccoli,” a/k/a “Broc,” 28, and CHRISTIAN VERA MALDONADO, 22, are charged with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, kilogram quantities of heroin. As the Indictment describes, the defendants operated a large-scale heroin trafficking organization that distributed heroin throughout Middletown, New York since at least 2007. As further alleged, during the investigation, the defendants unwittingly sold heroin to confidential informants and an agent in an undercover capacity. As further alleged, one member of the conspiracy also discussed the possible murder of two individuals in or around Middletown.
The charge against each defendant and the corresponding maximum potential penalties are outlined in the chart attached to this press release.
All of the defendants charged in the Indictment were arrested last night or today, or have previously been taken into custody. Twelve of the defendants are to be presented in White Plains federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith. One defendant is to be presented in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, and one defendant is to be presented in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, the City of Middletown Police Department, the New York State Police, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the Town of Wallkill Police Department, and the Town of Ramapo Police Department. Mr. Bharara also thanked the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for its invaluable coordination and continuing support.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gerber is 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.