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Press Release

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Two In Connection With Seven-Kilogram Fentanyl Seizure

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an Indictment charging ALDINTON VALERIO and ALEXIS OVALLE-LOPEZ with trafficking heroin and fentanyl in and around the Bronx, New York.  VALERIO was also charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of the narcotics distribution conspiracy.  The defendants were arrested in August 2016 on the same charges.  The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Katherine B. Forrest.   

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “Fentanyl and heroin are incredibly dangerous substances that have wreaked havoc in our communities.  The sale of heroin laced with fentanyl is particularly alarming, since fentanyl is many times more powerful than heroin.  We will continue to work tirelessly to prosecute anyone who seeks to profit from these dangerous drugs.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said:  “The combination of heroin and fentanyl has elevated the opioid threat to the most dangerous level yet.  Drug traffickers have hijacked fentanyl’s legitimate medical purpose resulting in unprecedented numbers of fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths.  It is imperative to warn our communities that these bathtub chemists are selling this deadly combination to unsuspecting users, as well as to those seeking the ultimate fatal high.” 

According to allegations contained in the Indictment, the underlying criminal Complaint filed on August 12, 2016, and statements made in court proceedings[1]:

From at least in or about July 2016 up to and including in or about August 2016, the defendants sold narcotics to a confidential source on multiple occasions.  During each of those transactions, VALERIO represented to the source that he was selling heroin.  However, when the narcotics were submitted to a DEA laboratory for testing, a chemical analysis revealed that, for at least two of the transactions, the narcotics were actually fentanyl – a drug that can be 50 times more powerful than heroin.

The defendants were arrested on August 11, 2016.  Following their arrest, DEA agents searched an apartment used by VALERIO and OVALLE-LOPEZ.  DEA agents seized approximately seven kilograms of fentanyl, as well as approximately two kilograms of heroin laced with fentanyl, from the apartment.  In addition, DEA agents seized two firearms from that apartment and approximately $100,000 in cash found in another apartment used by VALERIO.  

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA.

This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gina Castellano, Jordan Estes, and Jason A. Richman are in charge of the prosecution.

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


[1] The charges contained in the Complaint and Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated September 7, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 16-239