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SMACKING DOWN HEROIN DEALERS

A.G. Schneiderman, NYSP Superintendent Beach, And Syracuse Police Chief Fowler Announce Conviction Of Key Dealer In “Operation Smackdown” Following Trial

Luis Rivera Transported Over 10,500 Bags Of Heroin To Syracuse; Faces Up To 25 Years In Jail

Schneiderman: Conviction Sends Message That We Will Bring Deadly Heroin Dealers To Justice

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, New York State Police (NYSP) Superintendent George Beach, and Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler recently announced the conviction of Luis Rivera on the crimes of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 1st and Conspiracy in the 2nd Degree for which he now faces up to 25 years in state prison, following a brief trial. These charges stem from the Attorney General’s “Operation Smackdown,” in which Rivera served as a key dealer, including transporting 10,500 bags of heroin from NYC to Syracuse on June 17, 2015 for distribution in and around Syracuse.

“Luis Rivera played a key role in dealing huge quantities of heroin in Syracuse, fueling what is already a deadly epidemic,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This conviction sends the message that we will bring to justice those who deal death in our neighborhoods. My office and our partners in law enforcement will use every tool at our disposal to fight this epidemic in every corner of the state.”

State Police Superintendent George Beach said, “The conviction of Luis Rivera only reinforces the message that we are going to continue to work aggressively to stop heroin and other harmful narcotics from infiltrating our communities and neighborhoods, and we will find and punish the people who are responsible for putting these illegal substances in the hands of our youth and others. The State Police, along with our state and local law enforcement partners, are committed to protecting our communities and cutting off the pipeline of illegal narcotics."

Syracuse Police Chief Frank L. Fowler said, “The Syracuse Police Department will continue working with State and Local law enforcement to interrupt the supply chains of illegal drugs coming into, and destroying our communities. These arrests and lengthy prison sentences will hopefully send a message to others involved in these illegal activities that law enforcement will be coming for you.”

Over the course of the eleven-month investigation, which was led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), New York State Police, and the Syracuse Police Department, authorities seized:

  • 10,750 ready-to-sell baggies of heroin
  • 2 ounces of bulk heroin capable of being packaged into another 2,100 bags of heroin.
  • More than 1 pound of cocaine
  • 65 oxycodone pills
  • 21 hydrocodone pills
  • 2 hand guns
  • An electronic stun gun (disguised as a flashlight)
  • 9 rifles, including an assault rifle
  • 7 shot guns, and
  • $40,000 in cash

The four separate indictments charged 72 individuals with 227 crimes including Operating as a Major Trafficker, and various counts of Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A and B felonies), and Conspiracy to commit those crimes. The Operating as a Major Trafficker statute (§220.77 of the Penal Law of the State of New York), authored by Attorney General Schneiderman when he was a legislator, went into effect in November 2009, as part of reforms to the Rockefeller-era drug law; it is the only felony narcotics charge in the state that carries a possible life sentence.

“Operation Smackdown” focuses on two major distribution rings:

The first ring – codenamed “Flowers” -- was allegedly comprised of at least 37 individuals, who are charged on three separate indictments. This ring would allegedly send heroin from New York City to Syracuse and then distribute it in and around Syracuse. Over the course of the eleven-month investigation, authorities seized 10,750 bags of heroin, and more than two ounces of bulk heroin capable of being packaged into another 2,100 bags of heroin.

This ring includes the three people charged with “Operating as a Major Trafficker”:

  • JULIO SANTOS of Camillus, New York
  • REINALDO SANTOS of Syracuse, New York
  • MAGEN SOLANO of Syracuse, New York

The three traffickers allegedly arranged for narcotics to be transported from New York City to Syracuse.

The second ring – codenamed “Over the River” -- alleges that 35 individuals sold cocaine in the suburbs of Syracuse and adjacent Oswego County.

Those charged include:

  • JULIO SANTOS of Camillus, New York (Charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker)
  • REINALDO SANTOS of Syracuse, New York (Charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker)
  • MAGEN SOLANO of Syracuse, New York (Charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker)
  • HENRY AGUAYO of Syracuse, New York
  • ZEZELL MONIQUE BEYENE AGUAYO of Liverpool, New York
  • JORGE ALVARADO of Syracuse, New York
  • WENDI BURKE of Cicero, New York
  • CHARLES BUSKE of Oswego, New York
  • TRISTAN FONTANEZ CIRINO of Syracuse, New York
  • ASHLEY CORSETTE of Liverpool, New York
  • JERRY CRAW of Fayetteville, New York
  • EDDY CUELLO of Syracuse, New York
  • DANIEL P. DOHERTY of Camillus, New York
  • JOSEPH DONAHUE of Minoa, New York
  • DOUGLAS ELFORD of Canastota, New York
  • DANIEL EMOND of East Syracuse, New York
  • FRANCISCO FLORES of Syracuse, New York
  • JOHN FOLEY of Pulaski, New York
  • ELLIOT FREELON of Syracuse, New York
  • CATHERINE FUOCO of Central Square, New York
  • TIMOTHY GALARNEAU of Brewerton, New York
  • ADAM GILKEY of Minoa, New York
  • RONALD HALL of Cicero, New York
  • BRENT HARRINGTON of Central Square, New York
  • JAMES HARRIS of Syracuse, New York
  • ALFRED HOFFMAN of Syracuse, New York
  • THOMAS HOLMQUIST of Hastings, New York
  • BRIAN HONORS of Minoa, New York
  • STEVEN HOYT of Kirkville, New York
  • LAMYKE KELLY of Syracuse, New York
  • JOSHUA KINGSLEY of East Syracuse, New York
  • GEORGE KLAPAN of Pulaski, New York
  • JACQUELIN LANDO a/k/a JACQUELIN SHOWERS of Oswego, New York
  • JULIE LONG of Kirkville, New York
  • DENISE MAHONEY of Minoa, New York
  • DIANA MALDONADO of Syracuse, New York
  • KEVIN MALDONADO of Syracuse, New York
  • YVETTE MALDONADO of Syracuse, New York
  • ANTONIO MARTINEZ of Syracuse, New York
  • ALASHA MESSIER of Syracuse, New York
  • IRMA DIAZ ORTIZ of Syracuse, New York
  • DINA PECK of Kirkville, New York
  • CLAYTON PIEROPAN of Clay, New York
  • MICHAEL PIRAINO of Central Square, New York
  • CARLOS QUINONES of Syracuse, New York
  • JOHAN QUINONES of Syracuse, New York
  • MICHAEL RAMOS of Syracuse, New York
  • LORI RAUM of Bridgeport, New York
  • LORRIE REDINGTON of Tully, New York
  • DAVID REVETTE of Central Square, New York
  • LUIS RIVERA of Syracuse, New York
  • MIGUEL CRUZ RIVERA of Syracuse, New York
  • JOSE LOPEZ ROBLES of Syracuse, New York
  • MAGALEY ROMAN of Syracuse, New York
  • GILSANDRO ROSADO of Syracuse, New York
  • MARIO RUSSO of Syracuse, New York
  • JOSE DELGADO SANTANA of Syracuse, New York
  • JAIME SANTOS of Syracuse, New York
  • WILFREDO SANTOS of Syracuse, New York
  • SUSAN VERTICHIO SCHMIDT of Liverpool, New York
  • TOSHIRO SCOTT of Syracuse, New York
  • DANIEL SMITH of Central Square, New York
  • KYSHAUN SMITH a/k/a KYSHAUN WILLIAMS of Syracuse, New York
  • ANTHONY SPARKS of Syracuse, New York
  • MARK SPRATT of Kirkville, New York
  • CYNTHIA THOMPSON of Solvay, New York
  • JEAN TORRES of Syracuse, New York
  • LUIS UNDANETA of Syracuse, New York
  • ANGEL DIAZ VEGA of Syracuse, New York
  • LUIS CIRINO VEGA of Syracuse, New York
  • HILARY WASHO of East Syracuse, New York; and
  • JOSEPH WELLS of Minoa, New York

All other defendants in these cases have pled guilty to felonies.

Several additional agencies participated in the investigation, including the Oswego County Drug Task Force, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office, Onondaga County Probation Department, Cortland County Sheriff’s Department, New York State Parole, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Solvay Police Department and Syracuse University Police.

The investigation was conducted by OCTF Investigator William Elsenbeck, OCTF Investigator Paul Pendergast, Supervising Investigator Thomas M. Wolf and Deputy Chief Eugene Black. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella. The New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team under the supervision of New York State Police Superintendent George Beach, and Syracuse Police Detective Raul Santana under the supervision of Special Investigation Division Captain Timothy Gay and Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler.

The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Senior Investigative Counsel James J. Mindell. Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff runs the Organized Crime Task Force and Kelly Donovan is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Division.

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