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Authorities arrest eight people charged in connection with international drug trafficking ring in Rochester, New York

February 4, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Authorities arrest eight people charged in connection with international drug trafficking ring in Rochester, New York

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Eight people were arrested last week in connection with a large international drug trafficking ring in Rochester, New York.

Authorities launched a series of raids Monday, executing search warrants across the city – including at an address on Burbank Street, during which police say at least one suspect fired at officers. Federal and local law enforcement officials said no officers were hurt in the incident; two suspects were taken to the hospital after police returned fire, ABC13 reported.

The suspects have been identified as: Carlos Javier Figueroa, 39, Roberto Figueroa, 42, Leitscha Poncedeleon, 28, Orlando Yelder, 36, Jose Justiliano-Rodriguez, 18, Jashua Figueroa, 19, and Obed Torresall, 21. They were charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and distributing five kilos or more of cocaine, along with use of a telephone to promote drug trafficking.

If found guilty, the suspects face a minimum of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

An eighth individual, Felix Figueroa, has been charged in a separate complaint. He faces charges of distribution of cocaine and conspiring to distribute cocaine. He faces up to 20 years behind bars if found guilty.

Last April, prosecutors said a member of the group went to authorities, alleging that Carlos Figueroa was willing to put out a reward for their murder, and the individual was worried for their safety. This launched the probe that eventually led to the eight arrests on Monday.

Carlos Javier Figueroa is identified as the head of a drug trafficking organization which distributed cocaine in Rochester and was involved in both the transportation and sale of drugs. Prosecutors said Figueroa allegedly committed acts of violence in furtherance of the criminal enterprise.

Carlos Javier Figueroa organized cocaine shipments from Puerto Rico, which were shipped to locations in Rochester through the post office. At least 23 packages were sent to Rochester and picked up by Carlos Javier Figueroa, Roberto Figueroa, and Poncedeleon. The cocaine was broken down and packaged to be sold by others, including Yelder, Justiliano-Rodriguez, Jashua Figueroa, Felix Figueroa, and Torresall.

In December, ATF investigators initiated a surveillance operation targeting at least four homes in the Rochester area.

On January 29th, investigators executed search warrants on the properties recovering over $600,000 in cash, six assault rifles, two loaded handguns, over two kilos of cocaine, and suspected heroin and fentanyl.

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