BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Two major drug trafficking rings in Chautauqua and Erie Counties have been dismantled, according to police, who say 10 high-profile traffickers are behind bars.
Police made two busts, one in Dunkirk and one in Buffalo, against prominent drug trafficking rings for cocaine and heroin. In the announcement about the arrests on Thursday, officials highlighted the dangers of the two drugs and how they frequently result in death for the user.
“Drug addiction has become public health’s archenemy, and as heroin related deaths have increased 174 percent, heroin traffickers have become law enforcement’s priority target, which has led to these latest arrests of members of the Molina-Rios heroin trafficking organization,” DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt said.
The officials who addressed the public said the arrests are fruits of a two-year investigation. Officials say the organizations trafficked and distributed 1,000 doses of heroin each day.
In the Buffalo bust, police say they arrested Daniel Molina-Rios, 40, Orlando Rios, 43, Luis Montanez, 37, and Jose Andujar, 37. Each man is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 100 grams or more of heroin.
In the Dunkirk bust, police say they arrested David Jesus Pagan, 39, Rafael Burgos Jr., 40, Samuel Hernandez III, 34, Javier Pagan Jr., 31, Alvin Torres Jr., 30, and Angel Pierluissi, 28. Each man is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine.
If found guilty, each man is facing between five and 10 years behind bars as a minimum sentence, and a maximum of between 40 years to life as a maximum. Fines also levied against each man between $5 and $10 million each.
When police carried out the Dunkirk raids, they say they found seven kilograms of cocaine, $175,000 in cash and an assault rifle. Police didn’t say what they found in the Buffalo raids.