JAMESTOWN – A series of indictments and early morning raids has broken up what authorities say was a major drug ring that brought heroin and other illegal substances into the Jamestown area.
In all, 47 people were indicted on a total of 159 felony counts of drug possession, drug sales, conspiracy and other charges, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies announced Wednesday.
Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings said the majority of them are from Jamestown. There also were arrests in Cassadaga, Randolph, Wellsville and Binghamton. Authorities said Wednesday that six suspects were still at large.
Code named Operation Horseback, the yearlong investigation by state police, Jamestown police, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Border Patrol culminated in a series of raids and arrests at 6 a.m. Wednesday at residences throughout Jamestown. Police said the arrests were made without incident.
Search warrants were executed at homes on Water Street, North Main Street and Park Avenue, where officers seized $30,000 cash along with drugs and weapons. Authorities said the investigation also led to the seizure of more than 3,000 baggies of heroin with an estimated street value of $60,000.
In announcing the arrests, State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman reported that dealers carried drugs from the Washington Heights area of New York City to Jamestown in a canister under a 1999 Chevrolet Astro van. Others brought back drugs from Philadelphia and Puerto Rico.
Schneiderman said that the suspected dealers were overheard on phone wiretaps using coded language to discuss their transactions.
Schneiderman noted that one of the suspected dealers, Luis “Wiso” Lozada-Berberena, allegedly had regular business hours and “had a number of regular customers who would line up to meet and follow him to out-of-the-way places to make a deal.”
Schneiderman also said that Lozada-Berberena allegedly bought strips of suboxone, a painkiller, from one of his heroin customers and sold them to another customer, who allegedly smuggled them into Gowanda Correctional Facility, where her boyfriend was an inmate. He allegedly sold them to other inmates.
“This was a significant drug operation that distributed thousands of bags of heroin onto the streets of Jamestown and neighboring communities,” said State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico. “This speaks volumes as to how widespread the abuse of heroin has become.”
Surveillance began after Jamestown police were tipped off about heroin sales in the city and connected them to an increase in burglaries and petit larcenies.
“Our city has seen a steady increase in the amount of heroin confiscated and heroin-related crimes,” said Snellings.
The chief said 119 bags of heroin were confiscated in 2012 and more than 3,000 were taken in by officers so far this year. He said his officers have discovered the drug hidden in vehicles during routine traffic stops.
Chautauqua County Director of Mental Hygiene Patricia Brinkman said her department has seen an increase in the number of people addicted to heroin and other opiate drugs.
She said that the county has been holding forums to increase awareness about opiate addictions.
“We are always pleased when the supply of illegal drugs is limited and we want to see that people who have had an addiction to the drugs seek services,” she said.
Charged in the indictments are:
•Alberto Alicea, 54, of Brooklyn.
•Neftali “Tego” Benitez, 33, of Jamestown.
•Bryan Bobe, 25, Jamestown.
•Charles “Choco Loco” Brown, 42, Falconer.
•Stephen Bush, 33, Jamestown.
•Hector “Loco” Cameron, 31, Jamestown.
•Javier “Oreja” Carasquillo, 43, Jamestown.
•Neftali “Pucho” Cintron, 51, Jamestown.
•Hector Colon Rodriguez , 40, Jamestown.
•Ivan DeJesus Pena, 45, Jamestown.
•Luis “Papito” DeJesus, 29, Jamestown.
•Alfredo “Ding Dong” Diaz, 51, Jamestown.
•Samantha DiLallo, 26, Randolph.
•Carlos Echiaverria, 31, Jamestown.
•Carlos Encarnacion, 59, Jamestown.
•Roberto “Bost” Figueredo, 25.
•Joseph Fontanez, 24, Jamestown.
•Christopher Freeney, 43, Jamestown.
•Luis “Wichie” Garcia, 42, Jamestown.
•Rolando Garcia, 50, Jamestown.
•John Grilla, 28, Jamestown.
•Jose “Pun” Guevara, 29, Jamestown.
•Angelita Guzman, 28, Jamestown.
•Francisco Guzman Gonzalez, 46, Jamestown.
•Michael “Dougie” Lisciandro, 23, Jamestown.
•Moises Lopez-Encarnacion, 22, Mayville.
•Luis “Wiso” Lozada Berberena, 40, Jamestown.
•Eric M. Lundsten, 29, Ellington.
•Roberto Morales-Sanchez, 45, Jamestown.
•Jean Noriega, 43.
•Frank Orazio, 24, Cassadaga.
•LaShawn Paige, 42, Binghamton.
•Doris Ramos, 25, Jamestown.
•Ricardo Ramos, 27, Jamestown.
•Jonathan Ribbing, 27, Lakewood.
•Eddie “Nelson” Robles, 49, Jamestown.
•Leslie Rodriguez, 28, Jamestown.
•Randall Rolison, 51, Jamestown.
•Olga Santiago, 49, Jamestown.
•Jesus Javier Suarez, 44, Jamestown.
•Enrique Torres-Baez, 43, Jamestown.
•James “BK” Torres, 42, Jamestown.
•Damaris Urena. 35, Jamestown.
•Francis “Pollo” Vega, 37.
•Edwin Velasquez, 53, Falconer.
•Joshua Van Ord, 20, Lakewood.
•Walter Westerdahl, 33, Jamestown.