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22 people arrested for trafficking drugs from Mexico to the Bronx: DA

The BRONX — Twenty-two people have been indicted for attempting to traffic drugs to the Bronx, authorities announced Wednesday.

More than 50 pounds of fentanyl from Mexico was intercepted before it got to the Bronx and elsewhere in the Northeast, according to Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark.

During a 20-month investigation, the defendants were part of two different groups that trafficked several kilograms of fentanyl and heroin monthly and sold it in bulk to distributors in the Bronx, Philadelphia, Albany and other northeast cities in what authorities are dubbing "Operation Getting Paid."

“This organization allegedly spanned street dealers in the South Bronx to significant suppliers in Mexico linked to the Sinaloa cartel. These indictments charge traffickers whose poison kills an average of 20 Bronxites a month. Fortunately, 23 kilos (50 pounds) of fentanyl were intercepted before it could wreak havoc. The stamp on many of the heroin packs says it all: PAID. But with our law enforcement partners, we will pursue those at every level of the illegal narcotics trade who put money above human beings," the DA said.

According to the investigation, Roberto Gonzalez Franco, a Mexican national with a B-1 Visa border crossing card, allegedly crossed the border 15 times from September 2018 to February 2019 and held meetings in the Bronx, Philadelphia and Chicago. Mario Alberto Urbina Garcia of Los Angeles also traveled with Gonzalez Franco, crossing the border about 13 times in that time period.

On Feb. 8, about 50 pounds of fentanyl were seized from a hidden compartment within a vehicle in Chicago while en route to the Bronx and other locations. The fentanyl was being supplied by Gonzalez Franco and Garcia, authorities allege.

Seventeen of the 22 were arrested during a takedown last Tuesday, Clark said. During the takedown, drugs, a Mossberg .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle and 189 rounds of ammunition were yielded.

They are charged with two indictments:

  • 11 individuals are charged with 236 counts of various degrees of criminal sale, criminal possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy.
    • John Doe, AKA Saul, AKA Alex, East 154 Street, Bronx
    • Carlos Rodriguez Santana, 76, East 155 Street, Bronx
    • Charlie Rodriguez, 45, East 163 Street, Bronx
    • Robert Goldberg, 65, Sheridan Avenue, Bronx
    • Rafael Rodriguez, 57, Herkimer Street, Albany
    • Jose Jaquez, 39, Hammersley Avenue, Bronx
    • Santiago Jose Martinez Sanchez, AKA Eduito, 51, East 141 Street, Bronx
    • Silvia Vidal, 30, Bruckner Boulevard, Bronx
    • Roberto Gonzalez Franco, 50, Los Mochis, Mexico
    • Mario Alberto Urbina Garcia, AKA Monstro, 33, Los Angeles, California
    • Oscar Alessandro Garcia, AKA Junior, 44, Palmerton, Pennsylvania
  • Gonzalez Franco, Urbina Garcia and Alessandro Garcia are also charged with operating as a major trafficker.  If convicted, they can receive a maximum sentence of life in prison.
  • A second indictment charged 11 individuals with 281 counts of various degrees of criminal sale, criminal possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy.
    •  Carlos Vazquez, AKA, Catano, 66, White Plains Road, Bronx
    • Damaso Rodriguez, 51, Prospect Avenue, Bronx
    • Felipe Marquez, 60, East 165 Street, Bronx
    • Leonardo Villar-Cruz, AKA Cuba, 62, Morrison Avenue, Bronx
    • Juan Serrano, AKA John, 56, Reverend James A. Polite Avenue, Bronx
    • John Torres, AKA John, 50, Saint John Ave, Bronx
    • Jose Muniz, AKA Joey, 37, Tiebout Avenue, Bronx
    • Eduard Ventura de Leon, AKA Eduardo, 32, Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx
    • Carlos Miguel de Leon, AKA Carlito, AKA Jorge, 28, Walton Avenue, Bronx
    • Victor Manuel Burgos Ramos, AKA Chaka, 30, Leggett Avenue, Bronx
    • Carmen Delia Burgos Ramos, AKA Yeli, 29, Grand Avenue, Bronx

Video produced by Summer Delaney.

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