Attorney General And U.s. Attorney Announce Drug Indictments
New York State Attorney General Spitzer and United States Attorney Michael A. Battle today announced the unsealing of two indictments which were returned by a federal grand jury on October 3, 2002. The first is a nine count indictment, which charges defendants, including those listed below, with various violations of the Federal narcotics laws:
LUIS REYES , 31, of New York, NY;
RAMON REYES, 35, of New York, NY;
JOHN GUZMAN, 35, of Buffalo, NY;
JOSE TEJADA, a/k/a EDWIN RAMOS, 39, of New York, NY;
JOSE ESPINOSA, 43, of Buffalo, NY;
EDWIN ABREU, 24, of Buffalo, NY; and
JULIO MORENO, 26, of Buffalo, New York.
Defendants L. REYES, R. REYES, and GUZMAN are additionally charged in a second indictment containing 53 counts. Also charged in that indictment are:
JULIO MARTINEZ, 51, of New York, NY;
FRANCISCO PEREZ, 43, of New York, NY;
CARLOS MEDINA, 29, of Buffalo, NY;
ELICER MARTINEZ, 23, of New York, NY;
PAUL PORTOREAL, 30, of Buffalo, NY;
RAMON TATIS, 29, of New York, NY;
ANTHONY DANIELS, 27, of Buffalo, NY;
ANDRE GOLDSMITH, 28, of Buffalo, NY; and
LOTHA GOLDSMITH, 39, of Buffalo, NY.
They are all charged with various violations of the Federal drug laws.
With the exception of RAMON TATIS, each defendant is also charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine which carries a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and up to life, a fine of $4,000,000, or both. Various defendants also are charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and using a telephone in furtherance of a drug crime. Defendants J. MARTINEZ and PEREZ are charged with possessing a handgun in the furtherance of a Federal Narcotics Offense. The Second Indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $2,500,000 and other named assets alleged to be the proceeds of unlawful drug trafficking.
"These indictments go to the heart of the Reyes cocaine distribution network which stretches from the Dominican Republic all the way to Western New York," said Attorney General Spitzer. "For the past five years, this drug gang has used Buffalo neighborhoods like a cash machine distributing large quantities of cocaine that would then be cut into powder or refined into crack to feed street dealers and poison the community."
Commending the cooperative law enforcement effort that led to these indictments, U.S. Attorney Michael A. Battle stated: "These indictments are significant steps toward dismantling narcotics trafficking networks that extend beyond the borders of Western New York. Because of the strong effort on the part of law enforcement, the influx of a major supply of cocaine to our community has been halted."
At the arraignment, prosecutors stated that these indictments are the culmination of a two-year long investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and a federal grand jury into cocaine trafficking in Buffalo and New York City. The investigation involved the use of court-authorized wiretaps installed on various cellular telephones used by the defendants. Approximately 12 kilograms of cocaine and $225,000 in cash were seized since October 2000.
An investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force produced the first evidence of the Reyes narcotics operation described in today's indictments.
An investigation initiated in 2000 by the state Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) produced evidence that the Reyes organization was active in Buffalo. OCTF investigators learned the Reyes brothers were delivering a large amount of cocaine from NYC to the Buffalo area through the use of couriers and vehicles modified to contain false compartments. The investigation was then merged with an on-going Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into narcotics trafficking in the Buffalo area.
Based on this information, the New York state Attorney General's Office was then able to obtain eavesdropping warrants, upon which today's indictments are largely based.
The action by the Grand Jury followed the August 12, 2002 arrest of two individuals, EDWIN ABREU and JULIO MORENO, and the seizure of 2 kilograms of cocaine.
The following law enforcement agencies participated in the investigation:
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration;
- New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force;
- New York State Police; and
- Erie County Sheriff's Department.
Assistant Attorney General Robert J. Lee in the capacity of Special Assistant United States Attorney, and Assistant United State Attorney Frederick J. Platek are prosecuting the case.
It should be noted that the fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.