Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Narcotics Charges Against New York City Department Of Education Employee
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), and James J. Hunt, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), New York Division, announced today that YINMI RODRIGUEZ, an employee of the New York City Department of Education, and ROBINSON PAULINO were arrested Wednesday on narcotics conspiracy charges. PAULINO and RODRIGUEZ were presented in Manhattan federal court yesterday afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, Yinmi Rodriguez and Robinson Paulino worked together to deal cocaine using the United States Postal Service. Based on the charges, each could face at least ten years in prison.”
USPIS Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett said: “U.S. Postal Inspectors will vigorously pursue, arrest and bring to justice anyone who uses the US Mail to facilitate the transport of illegal drugs, ensuring the safety of the mail, our employees and customers.”
DEA Acting Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said: “The arrests of Paulino and Rodriguez result in a lesson learned for drug traffickers everywhere - law enforcement's combined resources will track you down.”
According to the Complaint filed yesterday:
From at least February 2014 through October 15, 2014, ROBINSON PAULINO, YINMI RODRIGUEZ and others engaged in a conspiracy to transport multiple kilograms of cocaine from Puerto Rico to the Bronx for distribution in New York City. Packages containing cocaine were sent via the United States Postal Service from Puerto Rico to PAULINO in the Bronx, New York. RODRIGUEZ, an information technology consultant employed by the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) since 2008, used an IP address (the “DOE IP Address”) associated with a New York City High School to track the shipment of several of these packages. Once PAULINO received delivery of the packages, he brought them to RODRIGUEZ’s apartment in the Bronx.
Between February and September 2014, numerous packages were sent from Puerto Rico to PAULINO or addresses associated with PAULINO in the Bronx. At least three of these packages were intercepted prior to delivery and found to contain in excess of five kilograms of cocaine.
On October 15, 2014, USPIS Postal Inspectors identified a package sent from Puerto Rico and addressed to “Ron Paul,” at an address in the Bronx associated with PAULINO. After a trained narcotics canine reacted to the package in a manner indicating the presence of narcotics, a USPIS Postal Inspector acting in an undercover capacity delivered the package to PAULINO while other law enforcement agents conducted surveillance. As with prior packages, RODRIGUEZ tracked the shipment of this package from Puerto Rico to the Bronx using the DOE IP Address.
After PAULINO accepted delivery of the package, he was observed delivering the package to RODRIGUEZ’s apartment in the Bronx. USPIS Postal Inspectors and DEA agents then conducted a search of RODRIGUEZ’s apartment, pursuant to a court authorized search warrant, recovering, among other things, two kilograms of cocaine from the delivered package and another kilogram of cocaine hidden in the apartment. PAULINO and RODRIGUEZ, who was present in his apartment at the time of the search, were subsequently arrested.
PAULINO, 31, and RODRIGUEZ, 27, both of the Bronx, are each charged with one count of conspiring to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum term of life in prison and a mandatory minimum of ten years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case 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. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Drug Enforcement Administration and United States Postal Inspection Service.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua A. Naftalis and Andrea M. Griswold are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.