Ten Indicted in West Side Drug Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 10, 2013|
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury in Buffalo has returned a 12-count indictment charging Oneil Quinones, 33; Jorge Quinones, 35; Oscar Romero, 32; Ellis Colon, 29; Edwin Sanchez, 27; Angel Sanchez, 45; Raul Ramirez-Vargas, 39; Josbel Garcia, 22; Miguel Manso, 42, all of Buffalo; and Jose Rivera, 32, of Niagara Falls, with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and cocaine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, a $5,000,000 fine, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that according to previously filed complaints, the defendants are members of a gang known as the Loiza Boys, which has been distributing cocaine and heroin on Buffalo’s West Side since at least 2009. According to the indictment, the charges are the result of a long term investigation that involved the interception of telephone calls of the defendants and the use of undercover drug purchases from some of those arrested.
Defendants Oneil Quinones, Jorge Quiones, Edwin Sanchez, and Ellis Colon were previously arrested and charged by complaint on February 27, 2013, for their involvement in this drug conspiracy. Authorities at that time announced the seizure of over 450 grams of heroin, three firearms, and over $70,000 in U.S. currency.
“This case is yet another example of our continuing efforts to eradicate gang and organized narcotics trafficking in the area, as well as the violence often associated with it,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Working side by side with our law enforcement partners, last month, we charged 16 defendants who were allegedly members of two violent street gangs operating on the East Side of Buffalo. Last week, we charged 15 narcotics traffickers allegedly operating out of the city’s Perry public housing project, as well as the Fruit Belt area. With today’s arrests, we have now charged alleged gang members who operated on Buffalo’s West Side, the same location where the 7th and 10th Street gangs operated before their arrests and dismantlement by this Office. Today’s operation sends a clear message we will continue our anti-gang, zero tolerance policy across all portions of this city and Western New York. The public can expect to see us at other locations in the near future.”
“In late February 2013, during the course of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force’s investigation into the Loiza Boys Gang, investigators intercepted conversations that revealed that members of the Loiza Boys Gang were determined to avenge a stabbing that had just occurred at the Alden State Correctional Facility,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel. “To prevent further acts of violence from occurring in the Western New York community, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision assisted the SSTF, Buffalo Police Department, and New York State Police in locating and arresting four Loiza Boys gang members on federal narcotics charges.”
New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Commissioner Brian Fischer said, “DOCCS cooperation, including members of the DOCCS Inspector General’s Office and other key department staff, with various law enforcement agencies, once again highlights the effectiveness of these joint efforts. The safety and security of our communities is our highest priority, and we will continue to use the resources we have available to contribute to that outcome, both inside and outside our correctional facilities.”
The indictment is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel. The Safe Streets Task Force includes members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Frank Christiano; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda; the Amherst Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Askey; the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack; the Hamburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Williams; the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police, under the direction of Chief George Gast; the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard; the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Matthew Renneman; the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, under the direction of Commissioner Brian Fischer. Additional assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell, New York Field Division; the United States Marshals Service, under the direction of Marshal Charles Salina; the Tonawanda Police Department, under the direction of Chief Anthony Palombo; the Niagara Falls Police Department, under the direction of Chief Bryan DalPort;, the Lackawanna Police Department, under the direction of Chief James Michel; and the Erie County Probation Department, under the direction of Director Brian McLaughlin.
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.