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Press Release

17 Defendants Arrested As Long Standing Drug Trafficking Ring Is Dismantled: Multiple Kilograms Of Deadly Fentanyl, Other Drugs, Illegal Guns, And Nearly 1-Million Cash Seized

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

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

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. announced today that 17 defendants were arrested and charged in two criminal complaints for their roles in a large and long standing illegal narcotics ring operating in Western New York. Charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 400 grams or more of fentanyl, one kilogram or more of heroin, and five kilograms or more of cocaine are:

Jancarlos Gonzalez-Rivera, A/K/A/ "Los;"
Jonathan Cruz-Vega, A/K/A/ "Tego;"
Earnest Baker, A/K/A/ "Slay;"
Amante Santiago, A/K/A/ "Cholo;"
Shaumyk Santiago;
Natasha Figueroa;
Enrique Medina, A/K/A/ "Ricky Rose;"
Alexis Morales, A/K/A/ "A;"
Eliezer Morales;
Joshua Bauer, A/K/A/ "White Boy;"
Marilin Deleon, A/K/A/ "Beba;"
Vanesly Lopez;
Lateef Budd, A/K/A/ "Lt;"
Marcus Johnson;
Philip Flowers;
Merilin Deleon; and
Archie Donaldson.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Everardo Rodriguez, who is handling the case, stated that according to the filed complaints, in 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Rochester Police Department, New York State Police, Greece Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives began investigating the illegal narcotics trafficking activities of ring leader JanCarlos Gonzalez-Rivera, who is responsible for the distribution of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl in the Rochester area. The defendant used numerous workers to transport, store, repackage for distribution, and distribute cocaine and fentanyl to customers and then collect payment for the drug transactions.

On April 30, 2020, investigators executed search warrants at 24 residences in Rochester, West Henrietta, Penfield, Greece, Irondequoit, and Syracuse, and on 12 cars associated with the defendants. During the execution of those search warrants, they seized eight firearms; approximately 3.5 kilograms of fentanyl; and approximately two kilograms of cocaine and crack cocaine. In addition, investigators seized $928,400 in cash.

“I want to commend and thank the literally hundreds of law enforcement officers who in the midst of a pandemic risked their own well-being to protect the public by masterfully executing this massive takedown,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Their efforts neutralized an armed and very profitable drug trafficking organization that was peddling poison and misery throughout our community. While much of our community is on pause, our brave men and women in law enforcement have remained very active working tirelessly to protect us from all forms of danger.”

“Time after time, law enforcement’s perseverance to their mission prevails,” said DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan. “This operation decimated a major drug trafficking network whose tentacles reached every neighborhood in the city. I would like to thank our law enforcement partners for their collaboration and commitment as this was truly a joint investigation.” 

The defendants made initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark W. Pedersen.

The complaints are the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Rochester Resident Office, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division; the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief La’Ron Singletary; the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Eric Laughton; the Greece Police Department, under the direction of Chief Patrick Phelan; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito; the U.S. Marshal Service, under the direction of Marshal Charles Salina; the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Todd Baxter; the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Kevin Henderson; and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, under the direction of Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci. Additional assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Buffalo and Syracuse Resident Offices.

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

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Updated May 7, 2020

Drug Trafficking