BUFFALO, N.Y (WKBW) In 2011, fifteen people were indicted as part of Operation Horse Trail for running the largest heroin distribution network in the history of Buffalo.
The drug ring was moving bricks of heroin from the Bronx to Buffalo where they were processed into smaller 'hits' for sale on the streets.
Some of the heroin also made its way into the Rochester area.
Most of the suspects were arrested, but the main supplier of heroin, Eury Rodriguez, was able to disappear and go underground to avoid being arrested.
"In this case, Mr. Rodriguez was a businessman who profited from the pain and suffering of the addicts he supplied here in Western New York," added Lt. Martin McKee from the State Police Western New York Community Narcotics Enforcement Team.
For twenty-three months, the New York State Special Police Investigations Unit followed up leads for Rodriguez's whereabouts.
It paid off.
On January 31st of this year, a State Police Surveillance Team spotted 33-year old Eury Rodriguez walking in Queens.
"He put his head down as if in affirmation of the fact that he knew he was wanted, and he surrendered peacefully," said Lt. McKee
Rodriguez was arraigned in State Supreme Court in Buffalo on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal sale of a controlled substance, and conspiracy.
Because Rodriguez is accused of moving more than seven kilos of heroin from the Bronx to Buffalo, with an estimated street value of $3.5 million dollars, he is being prosecuted under the State's Drug Kingpin Law - which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Rodriguez entered a not-guilty plea and remains in custody.
He will be back in court on February 27th for a pre-trial hearing.
More arrests are pending.