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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Leader Of Violent Rochester Drug Ring Convicted By Federal Jury Of Drug Conspiracy, Gun Charge And Murder

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

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal jury convicted Carlos Javier Figueroa a/k/a Javi, a/k/a Big Bro, 43, of Rochester, NY, of narcotics conspiracy, possession and discharge of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and murder while engaged in narcotics conspiracy. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

“The drug trafficking and violence inflicted on the streets of Rochester by this defendant and his co-conspirators is similar to the violence the city is experiencing today,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Let this conviction of Carlos Javier Figueroa and his co-defendants serve as a warning, ‘we took down their organization, prosecuted its members and convicted them, and we will do the same to any other criminal engaging in similar behavior.’” 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert A. Marangola, Cassie M. Kocher, and Katelyn M. Hartford, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that the defendant was the leader of a Rochester-based drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing many kilograms of cocaine in the City of Rochester. The organization was involved in the transportation and sale of cocaine and was also responsible for acts of violence in furtherance of the organization’s drug trade. These acts of violence included the September 12, 2016, shooting death of Walter Ross at the corner of Burbank Street and North Clinton Avenue. The Government presented evidence at trial that Figueroa provided the 9mm handgun that co-defendant Jonathan Cruz-Carmona used to murder Walter Ross. The gun was also used by co-defendant Obed Torres Garcia to shoot at police officers on Burbank Street when they attempted to raid Figueroa’s residence on January 29, 2018. 

Various locations throughout Rochester were utilized to receive, store, and sell the supply of illegal narcotics. Figueroa coordinated shipments of cocaine from Puerto Rico, which were sent to locations in Rochester via the United States Postal Service (USPS). Once the packages arrived in Rochester, the cocaine was broken down and packaged for sale. On January 29, 2018, during the execution of state search warrants, investigators seized more than $700,000 in cash, six assault rifles, three loaded handguns, over four kilograms of cocaine, and a quantity of suspected heroin and fentanyl.   

A total of 12 defendants were charged in this case, 11 have been convicted. The final defendant, Xavier Torres a/k/a Pistolita, is scheduled to go to trial on October 12, 2021. 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.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

The verdict is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito; the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan; the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (GRANET), under the direction of Lieutenant Robert Hill; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Todd Baxter; the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney Sandra Doorley; the Greece Police Department, under the direction of Chief Andrew P. Forsythe; and U.S. Border Patrol, under the direction of Acting Chief Patrol Agent Andrew Scharnweber.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 7, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. who presided over the trial of the case.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated June 30, 2021