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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Friday, September 29, 2017

11 Defendants Taken Into Custody Following Early Morning Roundup, A 12th Defendant Still Being Sought By Police

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal jury has returned an indictment charging 12 defendants with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of cocaine. The charge carries mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life and a $10,000,000 fine. Charged in an indictment and arrested this morning were:

• Cesar Rivera-Figueroa, aka Fat Boy, 26;
• Jenhsen Rodriguez, aka Compa;
• Daniel Navarro, Omar, 43;
• Virgen Perez-Jurado, 26;
• Josue  Cardona-Soto, aka Chris, 36;
• Devincio K.D. James, 28;
• Omar Vazquez-Baez, Tutu, 24;
• Luis Andino, 37;
• Joseph Jones; aka Tio, 54;
• Quinton  Jones, aka Q, 37;
• Sucley Romero, 26; and
• Tori Rockmore, 31

A twelfth individual charged in the indictment, Joseph Jones, a/k/a Tio, is still being sought by law enforcement officials. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura Higgins and Wei Xiang, who are handling the case, stated that according to the indictment, between July 2017, and the present, the defendants conspired to possess and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. The cocaine, which was trafficked from Puerto Rico, was being sold in the Buffalo area. 

“By removing those who pollute our neighborhoods with drugs and associated violence, arrests such as these reaffirm the commitment that the dedicated agents and prosecutors working for the Department of Justice have to helping our state and local partners, in our all-out effort to clean-up our neighborhoods,” said Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. “Sooner or later, those attracted to drug dealing need to realize that the costs—both to themselves and their communities—of engaging in such behavior outweigh any benefits. Short-term profits from drug-dealing mean long-term sentences in federal prison.”

“Unfortunately, we are reminded daily of the opioid epidemic affecting our families, friends and neighbors,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen. “But we must not forget that cocaine and other illegal narcotics are still a significant health and crime problem in our country.  The FBI Safe Streets Task Force and its partners continue to combat the illegal drug trade and those who seek viable routes to push drugs into Western New York.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt stated, "Through collaborative efforts, 11 members of a violent cocaine trafficking network have been arrested. As a result of the investigation, this crew will no longer be an intimidating presence nor a threat to families living in the Buffalo and Niagara area."

The eleven defendants were arraigned this afternoon before U.S Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy are due back in court on October 3, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.     

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan Benedict, New York Field Division; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda; and the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Edward Kennedy.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Updated October 2, 2017