Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, along with the New York State Drug Enforcement Task Force, today announced that 17 defendants have been variously charged in six separate indictments with conspiracy, sale and possession of a controlled substance in connection with a narcotics trafficking ring that sold and possessed over $1 million worth of narcotics during the course of the investigation.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly profited off the misery of drug addiction, particularly the growing heroin epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many young people who misuse this deadly and highly-addictive drug. I am committed to prosecuting major suppliers such as the ringleaders in this case to keep them from peddling narcotics in our communities.”
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said, “An investigation into a local drug ring uncovered three masterminds of the scheme in Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania and a federal prison, as well as local dealers in New York City. Through collaborative work, law enforcement’s efforts led to today’s arrests and the dismantlement of a drug distribution organization responsible for fueling drug addiction in our city.”
The District Attorney said that the investigation was conducted using electronic, video and physical surveillance, and that the indictment charges that between July 2017 and April 2018, the defendants conspired to possess and sell heroin and cocaine in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. It is alleged that Ezequiel Reyes, who was based in Pennsylvania, was the boss of the narcotics ring, and a wholesale distributer who supplied many of the other defendants named in the indictment with heroin and cocaine to be resold on the streets of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx.
Furthermore, it is alleged that Reyes depended on several individuals across the country to supply him with narcotics for distribution, including Noe Lopez, a federal inmate incarcerated at the Great Plains Correctional Institution in Hinton, Oklahoma, and an individual residing in Puerto Rico.
It is alleged that Lopez, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a quantity in excess of 1000 kilograms of marijuana and five kilograms of cocaine and laundering of monetary instruments in 2005 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas and was sentenced to 240 months in prison and forfeited $15 million, used a contraband cell phone to arrange large-scale sales of narcotics to Reyes. It is alleged that another individual also arranged for shipments of narcotics to Reyes, from Puerto Rico.
Of the 17 defendants, 15 were arrested yesterday and today. Most of the defendants were arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. Twelve of the defendants are charged with second-degree conspiracy, which is a B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. The defendants are variously charged with operating as a major trafficker, second-degree money laundering, first-, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; second- and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and related charges.
More than seven kilograms of cocaine and four kilograms of heroin were recovered during the investigation, along with more than 1,800 glassine envelopes of heroin and seven firearms.
The case was investigated by Detective Investigators assigned to the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau and the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF), Group T-13, comprising agents and officers of the DEA, NYPD and NYSP.