NEW YORK - Agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations in New York arrested 17 individuals for their role in a narcotics trafficking ring operating in Long Island.
The complaint was unsealed on Tuesday charging 17 members of a criminal organization based in Suffolk County and the Bronx with conspiracy to distribute powder cocaine and marijuana, primarily on Long Island. The complaint was announced by the following agency heads: James T. Hayes Jr., special agent-in-charge of ICE-HSI in New York; Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Richard Dormer, commissioner of the Suffolk County Police; and John P. Melville, acting superintendent of the New York State Police (NYSP).
In a coordinated operation last night and earlier today, more than 300 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested 16 defendants in the Bronx, Long Island, and Queens. One additional defendant was already in custody on state charges.
The following 16 defendants were arrested during this operation: Andres Marroquin-Corzo, aka Alex Lnu, aka Alex Rodriguez, aka Alexi Rodriguez, Ercilio Antonio Marine, aka Tony, Rolando Carmenante, aka Rolando Carmentate, aka Flaco, Huascar Figuereo, aka Ramon Lnu, aka El Gordo, Fausto Collado, Freddy Martinez, Rafael Perez, aka Gordo, Aida Sandoval, aka The Girl, aka Chiquita, Natalia Areiza, Alexander Morales, Hipolito Roldan, aka Paulie, Denny Rodriguez, Yunery Marine, Juan Carlos Ferrera and Engenio Solarzano-Lameda, aka Cuba. The defendants are expected to be presented in Manhattan federal court later on Tuesday. Luis Felipe Andujar-Rivera, aka Mario, will be transferred from state to federal custody at a later date.
ICE-HSI Special Agent in Charge James T. Hayes Jr. stated: "Drug trafficking organizations must be aggressively attacked and dismantled at every level - from the street dealer to the international supplier and drug lord. Through the coordinated efforts of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we have effectively eradicated an organization responsible for bringing significant quantities of drugs into our communities."
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: "These defendants allegedly belong to a dangerous organization that has distributed bounties of cocaine and marijuana throughout New York. With today's arrests, we have shut down their operations and their ability to pour poison into our communities. This coordinated takedown is another example of the important partnership we have established with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to continue pursuing those who drive the illegal drug trade."
According to the Complaint and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:
Between April 2009 and August 2010, the Corzo Organization, a cocaine trafficking organization led by Andres Marroquin-Corzo, distributed kilogram quantities of powder cocaine and marijuana throughout Long Island. The Corzo Organization regularly obtained a supply of cocaine and marijuana from sources in the Bronx and Long Island, transported the narcotics to various residences and businesses in Suffolk County, and then further distributed the drugs through meetings in parking lots, homes and vehicles.
Marroquin-Corzo oversaw the Corzo Organization's efforts in obtaining supplies of cocaine and marijuana, transporting the cocaine and marijuana, and collecting the proceeds of the narcotics. Corzo received cocaine from various suppliers, including Huascar Moises Figuereo, Freddy Martinez, and Rafael Perez. Fausto Collado and Luis Felipe Andujar-Rivera aided Figuereo by transporting cocaine to Corzo and collecting payment for the cocaine. Ercilio Antonio Marine both supplied Corzo with cocaine and purchased cocaine from Corzo for further distribution. In addition, Corzo received marijuana from Juan Carlos Ferrera, through Eugenio Solarzano-Lameda and Rolando Carmenante, among others. Carmenante also acted as a broker for the Corzo Organization, assisting its efforts to obtain cocaine.
The Corzo Organization then distributed the cocaine and marijuana to a network of customers and other distributors on Long Island. Aida Sandoval acted as the lead courier for the Corzo Organization. Sandoval delivered cocaine and marijuana to a network of other members of the Corzo Organization, most of whom were in Suffolk County, for further distribution.
Some deliveries were arranged via telephone conversations, during which members of the Corzo Organization specified the amount of drugs, the price of the drugs, and the place and time to do the drug deals. Among these distributors and customers were Natalia Areiza, Alexander Morales, Hipolito Roldan, and Jose Sanchez. On various occasions during the course of the conspiracy, Morales and Areiza appear to have been converting cocaine into "crack" cocaine for further distribution. Sandoval also collected the money owed for the drugs, maintained "stash" houses to store the drugs, and kept records of drug transactions and drug debts. In addition, Marine distributed cocaine through other distributers and customers, relying on Denny Rodriguez and Yunery Marine to make the deliveries and collect the proceeds.
Earlier today, law enforcement officers searched nine locations in Suffolk County from which certain defendants stored and/or distributed cocaine and marijuana or stored the proceeds of this illegal activity. During these searches, officers recovered, among other evidence, about 250 grams of cocaine, over $100,000 in cash, and drug paraphernalia.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara praised the investigative work of ICE-HSI, the Suffolk County Police Department, and the New York State Police Department. He added that the investigation is continuing.
This case is being handled by the Office's Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul M. Krieger, Michelle Parikh Brown, Justin Anderson, and Jason Hernandez are prosecuting this case.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.