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Narcotics pipeline shut down in western NY

BUFFALO – The Attorney General’s office, State Police, the Jamestown Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Border Patrol announced that narcotics possession and sale, conspiracy to distribute and other charges have been filed against 47 individuals accused of taking part in a drug distribution network that funneled heroin from Philadelphia and New York City to Jamestown.

As part of a multi-agency investigation code-named Operation Horseback, state, federal and local law enforcement agents led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), New York State Police’s CNET and the Jamestown Police Department conducted a year-long investigation that included undercover operations, hundreds of hours of covert surveillance, and wiretaps. The investigation led to the seizure of more than 3,000 baggies of heroin with an estimated street value of $60,000, all for distribution in Jamestown. 

“Today’s arrests are another step in our tough, continued battle against illegal drugs that have flooded our streets and ruined so many lives,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “As we have alleged, these traffickers not only wreaked havoc on local neighborhoods—they even sold to prison inmates and rehab patients who should be benefitting from treatment, not caving to the temptations of their addiction. We will keep fighting to put drug traffickers behind bars, clean up our streets, and keep our communities safe.”

Since 2011, the attorney general’s office has broken up 17 major drugs rings, recovered $1.3 million from drug dealers, confiscated 79 kilos of cocaine, more than 500 grams of crack, more than 2,500 grams of heroin, and made 345 felony arrests of drug dealers and kingpins  statewide.

According to the indictment, members of the narcotics distribution organization would transport the heroin to Jamestown from New York City in a canister located underneath a 1999 Chevy Astro Van. Wiretaps caught the defendants discussing their drug transactions in a cryptic and coded manner in the hope of avoiding detection by law enforcement. Neftali Cintron, known as Pucho, and his son-in-law Luis DeJesus, known as Papito, would allegedly travel to Philadelphia to obtain heroin, which their minions distributed for them in Jamestown. When they did not like the quality of the narcotics from that source, they would obtain drugs from other dealers in the area. 

One of those distributors, Luis Lozada-Berberena, known as Wiso, allegedly operated his heroin business during regular business hours – sometimes telling customers he was “closed for the day” – and had a number of regular customers who would line up to meet and follow him to out-of-the-way locations to make a deal. He allegedly got his heroin from Carlos Encarnacion, who regularly drove to New York City and returned with heroin hidden in the specially outfitted Astro Van. Wiso also purchased suboxone strips from one heroin customer and sold them to another heroin customer, Leslie Rodriguez. She then allegedly smuggled them into Gowanda Correctional Facility in Erie County where her boyfriend was incarcerated there. He then allegedly sold the suboxone, making over $300 per strip.