BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Thursday that 12 people have been arrested for their roles in an alleged cocaine trafficking ring that brought drugs from Puerto Rico to Buffalo and other parts of Western New York.
According to a 155-page indictment, investigators allegedly seized 7.5 kilograms of cocaine along with over $120,000 in cash.
“Drug trafficking rings put all of our communities in harm’s way, and today’s takedown is our latest effort to keep New Yorkers safe,” said Attorney General James. “These individuals allegedly trafficked more than $500,000 worth of cocaine from Puerto Rico and other areas onto New York streets, and it came at the expense of public safety. My office will continue to hold accountable anyone who violates the law, and I thank our partners in law enforcement for their invaluable support and commitment in this effort.”
Investigators say cocaine was allegedly mailed from Puerto Rico to various locations throughout Western New York, where it was reportedly sold locally and the money was then sent back to Puerto Rico.
The following people were indicted on Thursday
- Shawn Armstrong, 47 years old, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
- Joel Calderon, 32 years old, Buffalo, N.Y.
- Felix DeLeon Ortiz, 26 years old, Buffalo, N.Y.
- Daniel Dublino, 67 years old, Buffalo, N.Y.
- Corey Floyd, 47 years old, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
- Christopher Hanaka, 28 years old, Buffalo, N.Y.
- Rafael Martinez, 34 years old, Buffalo, N.Y.
- Gregory Pryor, 35 years old, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
- Edwin Rivera, 37 years old, Buffalo, N.Y.
- Kevin Sanchez Bayala, 23 years old, Buffalo, N.Y.
- Marshone Spigner, 31 years old, Buffalo, N.Y.
- Jose Torres, a/k/a “Smokey”, 31 years old, Buffalo, N.Y.
“By removing the head of this organization, we have effectively clogged a major artery supplying upstate New York with illegal drugs,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Donovan. “These major traffickers were coordinating large shipments of cocaine, sent from Puerto Rico to New York, for further resale in our communities. The DEA cocaine seizures in New York increased 300 percent from 2020 to 2021, and we know that a common trade among dealers is mixing fentanyl and cocaine, which is causing overdoses and death. I applaud the investigators and prosecutors on their diligent work throughout this investigation, which will no doubt save lives.”
“This indictment and the arrests this morning are a significant victory in the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s efforts to combat drug trafficking and violent crime,” said Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, Joshua McCallister. “The relentless efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies have put a major supplier of cocaine to Western New York out of business. Postal Inspectors will continue to investigate and seek prosecution of those who disregard our laws and smuggle drugs into our communities. The arrests of these individuals demonstrates our commitment to keeping these and other highly addictive drugs from destroying lives.”