NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Federal agents and New Rochelle police raided the Supermercado Mexico grocery store located at 100 Union Avenue in New Rochelle early this morning as part of months long investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force that encompassed New York and Connecticut.
Federal agents and local police began staging at the New Roc City Parking garage shortly before 4:00 a.m. Paramedics were pre-positioned at the St. Gabriel’s Church parking lot.
Six members of a New Rochelle Drug Trafficking Organization were arrested as part of a coordinated operation earlier today, in which federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested six defendants in Westchester County, New York, and three defendants in Fairfield County, Connecticut. A seventh member of the New Rochelle organization is still at large.
Ten defendants are charged in two federal indictments, unsealed today. Seven of the defendants were charged in the Southern District of New York with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms and more of cocaine and 50 grams and more of methamphetamine in and around New Rochelle, New York, since at least April 2018.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut has charged an additional three defendants with narcotics offenses, including conspiracy to distribute 500 grams and more of cocaine. Those defendants arrested today who are charged in the federal indictment in the Southern District of New York were presented in White Plains federal court today before Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison.
The indictment includes Forfeiture of 100-102 Union Avenue and 57 Walnut Avenue.
New Rochelle Police Commissioner Joseph F. Schaller stated: “This is another example of the excellent work being performed by the joint federal, state and local drug enforcement task forces operating in Westchester and Fairfield Counties. The City of New Rochelle and the New Rochelle Police Department thank our law enforcement partners in this operation for their exceptional efforts and invaluable assistance in removing a significant number of dangerous drug traffickers from the streets of our city.”
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated: “Our Office is committed to ridding New York neighborhoods of highly addictive and extremely dangerous drugs. And we will continue to help coordinate our efforts with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and local and federal law enforcement agencies.”
Connecticut U.S. Attorney John H. Durham stated: “We allege that these individuals were responsible for bringing significant amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine into our state. I thank our federal, state and local law enforcement partners for their diligent efforts in these cases, and our counterparts in the Southern District on New York for coordinating with us in these investigations and today’s take down of the most significant members of this organization.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office William F. Sweeney stated: “The distribution of illegal narcotics continues to be a scourge on our communities. As alleged, these defendants profited from trafficking cocaine and methamphetamines at the expense of those subjected to all the negatives wrought by these substances. Today’s charges should serve as a reminder that the FBI, through our Westchester County Safe Streets task force, will continue to target these offenders and the impact they are having on our communities.”
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge of the New Haven Office Brian C. Turner stated: “Despite the ongoing battle against the opioid crisis in our communities, this indictment should make it abundantly clear that we at the FBI, along with all of our law enforcement partners, have not lost sight of the other illicit drugs and those that traffic them. Together we will continue to pursue those that seek to pollute our communities.”
DEA New York Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt stated: “Earlier this year, DEA joined forces with FBI and the New Rochelle Police Department to dismantle a drug trafficking organization operating in Westchester and Fairfield Counties. By shutting down this family-run methamphetamine operation, lives will be saved. I applaud the efforts of our law enforcement partners and the US Attorney’s Offices Southern District of New York and District of Connecticut.”
DEA New England Special Agent-in-Charge Brian D. Boyle stated: “DEA is committed to investigating and dismantling large-scale poly drug trafficking organizations like this one operating in the Bridgeport, Connecticut, area. As we all know, drug trafficking, along with the gun and physical violence that often accompanies it, ravages the very foundations of our families and communities. This investigation demonstrates the strength of collaborative local, state, and federal law enforcement efforts to seek and bring to justice anyone who engages in these crimes.”
As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in White Plains federal court:
From April 2018 up to October 2018, ULYSSES LOPEZ, VALENTINO LOPEZ, and CHRISTIAN LOPEZ conspired to distribute five kilograms and more of powder cocaine and 50 grams and more of methamphetamine, and FELIPE BARAJAS, a/k/a “Felipe Barajas Gallegos,” JOSE OCEGUERA, a/k/a “Cande,” FELIPE CORTES, and SATURNINO OLIVER FARIAS, a/k/a “Genaro Robles,” conspired to distribute five kilograms and more of powder cocaine.
As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in New Haven federal court:
From March 2018 through June 26, 2018, RAFAEL LOPEZ-MACIAS, a/k/a “Rafa,” a/k/a “Martin Sanchez,” JAIME LOPEZ, a/k/a “Compa,” and JUAN CARLOS FIGUEROA, a/k/a “Chaito,” conspired to distribute 500 grams or more of powder cocaine. In addition, on June 26, 2018, RAFAEL LOPEZ-MACIAS possessed with intent to distribute 500 grams and more of methamphetamine, and on June 7, 2018, JAIME LOPEZ possessed with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine.
The defendants charged in White Plains federal court each face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison. The defendants charged in New Haven federal court each face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, and a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison.
Mr. Berman and Mr. Durham praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, DEA, the Connecticut State Police, and the New Rochelle, Norwalk and Stamford Police Departments. Mr. Berman also thanked the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations for their assistance and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut for its ongoing coordination in the case.
This case is also the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Deininger and Celia Cohen of Southern District of New York’s White Plains Division, and by Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Kaplan and Lauren Clark of the District of Connecticut.