Eight men have been charged in a heroin distribution ring which operated in the Jamestown area.
Victor L. Angueira, aka "Pito," 28, of 51 Conewango Ave., Celoron; Victor L. Monge, aka "Pee Wee," 28, of 28 Peach St., Jamestown; Boris A. Aguayo-Matos, aka "Bori," aka "Mikey," 27, of 248 Broadhead Ave., Jamestown; Jose A. Altreche, 39, of 1753 Dean Circle, Marietta, Ga.; Jesus Trinidad-Rivera, 26, of 66 St. Claire, New Britton, Conn.; Ricardo Ortiz, 39, of 45 Silpan Ave., Waterberry, Conn.; Jayson Rodriguez-Irizarry, 25, of 45 Park St., Ashfort, Conn.; and Nelson Areizaga-Rosa, 30, of 730 E. 163rd St., Bronx, N.Y. were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver one kilogram or more of heroin in a year and a half long investigation titled Operation "Bundle Up."
According to Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace, Angueira is the head of the heroin distribution ring which operated throughout the area.
51 Conewango Street
148 McKinley Ave.
248 Broadhead Ave.
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the single largest heroin ring ever broken up in Chautauqua County," Gerace said.
The charges come after an investigation by several police agencies, including the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force offices in Chautauqua County and Cattaraugus County, the Jamestown Police Department, the Lakewood-Busti Police Department, Ellicott Police Department, Olean Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The investigation was conducted in Ellicott, Falconer, Jamestown, Celoron, Lakewood, Dunkirk, Cassadaga, Silver Creek, Olean, Salamanca, Youngstown, Ohio, New Britton, Conn., and Waterbury, Conn.
According to Gerace, the investigation began in November 2009, when the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force initiated an investigation into the alleged heroin trafficking activities of Angueira and his organization.
"The task force received information back in November of '09, about heroin trafficking in the area, and began surveilling and gathering information about the perpetrators, and they began the investigation then and continued it until its culmination," he said.
According to Gerace, many different types of information gathering techniques were used, including confidential informants, surveillance and numerous other techniques to identify members, customers and the structure of Angueira's alleged heroin distribution organization.
It was found that the group was not only operating in Chautauqua County, but also in Olean and Salamanca in Cattaraugus County. The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force office in Olean then joined the investigation.
In June 2010, the Buffalo office of the DEA, U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo and an Ohio office of the DEA joined the investigation to provide federal support.
On Dec. 13, 2010, a wire tap authorization was given for specific targets within the group.
"We identified upper level members of this heroin ring, and eventually progressed us to asking the DEA of assistance and we obtained wiretap search warrants," said Gerace.
Information was gathered on assets, customers, street level dealers, managers, bosses and suppliers of heroin.
It is believed that the organization was distributing a half kilo of heroin every week.
"We know that recently, they were moving a half a kilo of heroin a week, from what we can verify," said Gerace. "That's a lot, a lot of heroin."
Conversations in which a shipment of heroin and the storing of substantial amounts of money were intercepted.
The investigation continued, showing that the organization also involved players in Youngstown and Campbell, Ohio and New Britton and Waterbury, Conn.
On March 17, police received information that a Connecticut vehicle, a Lincoln Navigator, was driving on Interstate 86 with a large sum of money from the organization. The vehicle was allegedly seen speeding, going 78 mph, and was pulled over by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office. Four people were inside the vehicle. They were Trinidad-Rivera, Rodriguez-Irizarry, Ortiz and Areizaga-Rosa. After getting a search warrant, $60,000 in cash was found hidden in a spare tire.
"We learned that they were transporting a large sum of money, and their vehicle was surveilled and stopped on I-86 for speeding and we subsequently obtained a search warrant for that vehicle and found $60,000 in cash hidden in the spare tire," he said. "We arrested four individuals at the time of that stop."
As a result of the traffic stop, the four suspects as well as Angueira were taken into federal custody.
Gerace said it is believed that the organization in Jamestown is connected to an organization in Connecticut, and that the vehicle was headed back to Connecticut in order to resupply.
"The DEA is following up with that connection, and we believe that one of the perpetrators that we apprehended at the time of the stop was the head guy from the Connecticut ring," he said.
Two vehicles were also seized during the investigation. In one of the vehicles, allegedly driven by Aguayo-Matos, over 25.5 ounces of heroin and a handgun were found.
A search warrant for a house in Campbell, Ohio, that of Angueria's mother, was granted. Between $200,000 and $300,000 was seized as well as a drug ledger, according to U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr.'s office.
On March 18, search warrants for four houses in the Jamestown area were granted.
Officers searched 51 Conewango Ave., Celoron, where Angueira lived; 512 E. Sixth St., Jamestown, a house allegedly used as a heroin processing and storage location; 248 Broadhead Ave., Jamestown, used by Boris Aguayo-Matos, alleged manager of the ring; and 148 McKinley Ave., Jamestown, a house allegedly used as a distribution center.
A half kilo of heroin and packaging material was found in the Sixth Street home. Eighteen bundles of heroin was found inside a vacuum cleaner at the Conewango Street home. Inside the Broadhead home, 74 grams of heroin, an ounce of marijuana and two guns were found. A half kilo of cocaine, a half kilo of heroin, a handgun, a rifle and a bullet proof vest were also seized as a result of the searches.
"We conducted search warrants at four different residents in the city of Jamestown and Celoron, and we were able to recover guns, a quantity of cocaine, a quantity of heroin and a bulletproof vest," he said.
All eight men are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver heroin which carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, a maximum of life and fines up to $10 million, according to Hochul's office. Additional charges against all involved are pending and more arrests are pending.
According to Gerace, many of the upper level members of the organization have been taken into custody, and other arrests are expected.
At least 15 street level distributors were identified, he said.
"We expect to make 15 more arrests of low-level dealers," he said. "We are going to continue to apprehend people who have already been identify and we have evidence against, and we will see where that takes us, which could lead to more arrests."
Each street level distributor was servicing several customers, who in turn distributed heroin to their customers, said the Sheriff's Office.
The law enforcement participants in this investigation would like to thank the public for the information that was provided.
"This represents one of the largest heroin seizures ever in the Jamestown area," said U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr. "This care demonstrated the tremendous benefit to the community when multiple law enforcement agencies work together to target an entire narcotics trafficking organization. My office is fully committed to prosecuting organizations that seek to traffic large quantities of narcotics in this district."
Gerace congratulated the law enforcement officials who were involved in this investigation.
"I want to commend all the law enforcement that was involved in this investigation," he said. "They spent hundreds and hundreds of man hours and we got dangerous individuals off the streets and stopped the flow, temporarily anyway, of heroin sales in the county."