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Press Release

Six Erie Men Indicted in Large-Scale International Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking Scheme

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

ERIE, Pa. - Six residents of Erie, Pennsylvania, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie on federal drug and firearms charges relating to an international drug trafficking conspiracy, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

The 14-count Indictment, returned on March 10 and unsealed today, named Abimael Arroyo-Garcia aka Pepo, Orlando Arroyo-Figueroa aka Lindin, Braulio Arroyo-Figueroa aka Sami, Jonathan Roman Vargas aka Mimo, Alberto Arroyo-Amaro, and Brayan Oma Arroyo-Amaro, as defendants.

According to the Indictment presented to the court, from November 2017 through February 2020 these defendants operated a conspiracy, with others known and unknown to the grand jury, to ship large quantities of cocaine and heroin from Puerto Rico for distribution in Erie, Pennsylvania. The indictment also alleges that on February 10, 2020, Vargas knowingly carried a Beretta 9mm handgun, during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. On February 10, 2020, investigators seized approximately $250,000 in cocaine destined for Erie from Puerto Rico as part of this conspiracy.

"Through this coordinated effort between federal and state agencies, we disrupted a significant international drug trafficking organization which had been supplying cocaine and heroin to the Erie area for years," said U.S. Attorney Brady. "We want the people of Erie to know that the men and women of law enforcement continue to serve you every day and protect you from drug dealers who poison our communities."

"The culmination of this successful investigation validates the dedication and combination of investigators and resources combatting drug trafficking in the Erie area," said Captain Kreg S. Rodrigues, Director of the Drug Law Enforcement Division of the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigation. "Drug dealers will be held accountable for their actions. The Pennsylvania State Police remains committed to the drug enforcement mission and will continue to partner with the Federal, state and local agencies by working together toward the common goal of improving the quality of life in our communities."

"The Postal Inspection Service is dedicated to protecting the American public," said Acting Inspector in Charge James Giehl. "One of the ways we fulfill this mission is by working tirelessly with other law enforcement agencies in operations just like this one to keep dangerous drugs out of the communities we serve."

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of life imprisonment, a fine of $16,000,000, or both for Orlando Arroyo-Figueroa; life imprisonment, a fine of $13,250,000, or both for Jonathan Roman Vargas; life imprisonment, a fine of $10,000,000, or both for Abimael Arroyo-Garcia; life imprisonment, a fine of $7,000,000, or both for Braulio Arroyo-Figueroa; and life imprisonment, a fine of $5,000,000, or both for Alberto Arroyo-Amaro and Brayan Oma Arroyo-Amaro. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.

Assistant United States Attorney Paul S. Sellers is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Pennsylvania State Police, Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated March 24, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses