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62 face charges in East Side Youngstown drug sweep

Published: Thu, July 7, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.


U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach stands near a poster of the 25 people wanted in a federal investigation into heroin sales in Youngstown. At a news conference Wednesday, he discussed federal and local law enforcement’s determination to press forward with aggressive pursuit of those distributing drugs and illegally carrying guns in the area.

The list of people wanted on a variety of drug charges in relation to a 61-count federal indictment issued Wednesday. Some of those listed are already in custody:

Luis Angel Martinez, 33, Youngstown.

Duniek A. Christian, 26, Youngstown.

Roberto Agosto-Lopez, 27, Campbell.

Carlos Garay-Cruz, 36, Youngstown.

Richard N. Ramos, 34, Youngstown.

Eddie C. Laviena, 20, Campbell.

Roberto C. Colon, 28, Youngstown.

Rafael Medina-Vazquez, 31, Youngstown.

Daniel Infante, 23, Campbell.

Alexis Infante, 22, Campbell.

David Bracetty, 19, Campbell.

Edgardo Esteras-Diaz, 19, Campbell.

Carlos Alberto Cuevas-Garcia, 25, Youngstown.

Jose Emanuel Cuevas, 20, Youngstown.

Norman D. Rodriguez, 20, Youngstown.

Carlos Alberto Flores, 37, Youngstown.

Charles Lamont Bigsby, 36, Youngstown.

Rogelio Rojas-Pena, 23, Youngstown.

Jonathan J. Fernandez, 27, Youngstown.

Rolando Pena-Gomez, Manhattan, N.Y.

Jose L. Rojas, 47, Youngstown.

Adrian Colon-Torres, 20, Youngs-town.

Pedro L. Rivera, 31, Youngstown.

Blake Burns Mannor, 29, Youngstown.

Philip M. Lemon II, 23, Youngstown.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

Feds focus on 25 locals in 61-count indictment

By John W. Goodwin Jr.



More than 60 people who for years earned money by selling heroin on the city’s streets are either in police custody or on the run from federal, state and local law enforcement.

U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach said the roundup began early Wednesday after the release of a 61-count federal indictment charging 25 people from the Youngstown area with a variety of drug-related crimes.

There are an additional 37 people indicted on state charges to be prosecuted by the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office.

“This case shows that although people who deal drugs and have these firearms do not give up easy, neither do we,” said Dettelbach. “We are talking about a group of people who bought drugs into Youngstown and sold them around the area, often carrying guns as a tool of trade like some people carry a hammer.”

The drug sales centered on the city’s East Side. The indictment details drug sales in the areas of Ayers and Shehy streets, McCartney Road, Mumford Circle and Byron Street in Youngstown, as well as Morley Avenue in Campbell.

Bob Balzano, resident agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, said as of late Wednesday that law-enforcement officials had arrested 32 — 16 on state charges and 16 on federal charges — of the total 62 people wanted in the drug investigation.

He said more than 90 law-enforcement officers continue to pound the pavement in search of the remaining 30 people.

Rebecca Doherty, an assistant county prosecutor, said all those facing state charges in the investigation have been presented to the grand jury under a secret indictment. She said charges against the 37 people, whose names have not yet been released, range from possession of drugs to trafficking in heroin.

According to the federal indictment, Luis Angel Martinez, 33, of Youngstown would obtain heroin from sources in Youngstown, New York City and Buffalo, N.Y., for distribution in Youngstown. The indictment says Martinez would then distribute the drugs to lower-level dealers for distribution throughout the area.

The indictment says the lower-level dealers also would take turns staffing a cellular telephone used by Martinez for drug distribution.

Balzano said wiretaps on phones used by the dealers played a major role in the investigation. The indictment details phone conversations where those in the indictment spoke about various drug transactions.

Dettelbach said the investigation was labeled “Operation Deja Vu” because Martinez faced similar charges after an investigation in 2004. He said Martinez served 18 months in prison and was placed on probation, but ultimately went back to the drug trade.

Martinez is not the only person mentioned in the indictment who is known to law enforcement.

Duniek Christian, 26, of Youngstown has been in Mahoning County jail on a variety of charges since late 2010, but is listed as a primary player in the federal indictment.

Christian was arrested in early November after leading police on a chase through the East Side while driving a stolen car. He had been wanted on warrants over a 2005 gunbattle with police that led to the felonious-assault charges pending against him in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Christian, in 2005, was accused of driving a stolen car with three other men in it through the East Side while they shot at seven police officers.

Christian’s behavior in a Youngstown Municipal Courtroom earlier this year also almost led to his mouth being duct-taped shut.

Past charges against others mentioned in the federal indictment include traffic offenses, drug abuse, possession of drugs, criminal simulation, possession of drug paraphernalia and assault.

One of the men named in the indictment is deceased. Officials would not comment on the nature or circumstances of his death.

The federal indictment and subsequent arrest come on the heals of another federal investigation into the LSP Gang that operated for years on the city’s South Side and the April indictment of 28 people believed to be part of a major drug ring in the Youngstown area. Dettelbach said authorities do not believe the three cases are related.


1kat6684(1 comment)posted 5 years ago

First of all redeye they are not all Mexicans but way to be racist. Some of these people used to live in my neighborhood and guess what not in this country illegally. I don't agree with the things that they do but get your facts right before you go judging people.

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2315315(1 comment)posted 5 years ago

redeye1 you're so typical of the average american. If they all had names like Bob Smith, would you be commenting about how it figures they're all white? Let's be judgemental shall we? How about your own user name? Is that a reference to the drugs that YOU do?

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3republicanRick(1736 comments)posted 5 years ago

If the crooks WERE all white we would comment on that, but they were not.
And kat, did you do anything to stop the illegal activity?

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4Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

Heroin addicts are only interested in a cheap source and easy places to steal from when their welfare monies are spent . Incarceration is 100% effective in cutting the habit .

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5WalterSobchack(19 comments)posted 5 years ago

Really? You really think that the prisons are "drug free zones"? You think prisons "reform" these people? If you do, then you are a fool. We need to STOP prosecuting addicts and start rehabilitating them instead. News Flash: Prohibition doesn't work. The War on Drugs doesn't work. Wait until it's your grandchild, or niece or nephew that is the addict. I bet your "lock em up and throw away the key" attitude will change real quick. We shouldn't be treating addicts any differently then we treat alcoholics.

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6Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

WalterSobchack :

"We need to STOP prosecuting addicts and start rehabilitating them instead."

I endorse slammer time for drug abuse with no exclusions . Spending tax money while they are loose to steal,kill and pursue life to its fullest is not my idea of rehabilitation . In prison they are safe and drug free .

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7bmanresident(607 comments)posted 5 years ago

I got a great idea about limiting the funds available to the drug users out there thus striking the dealers where it hurts, in the pocket book. We need to have all welfare recipients pee in a cup and take drug tests before they get their free money from the gov't. Before anyone calls me racist, think about it. No money from the government? no money for the drug dealers, it's that simple.

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8uetz(38 comments)posted 5 years ago

"Hey, u, 62, ppl, u could have gotten jobs instead of selling drugs! U could have worked at the.. um.. the, uh...... well u could have stayed broke from 2004 until whenever a job opened up (smh). "

For someone who knows so much about 'da hood, you are sure quick to forget that YSU is right around the corner ... but going to school and getting a degree would be too much work and effort. And please, spare us with the 'they can't afford it' defense, because half of those drug dealers get school loans from YSU, end up not going, and spending the money to start up their dope dealing endeavors in the first place. YSU doesn't discriminate and Uncle Sam freely gives money to anyone willing to better themselves with a higher education.

As far as the arrests are concerned: good job.

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9HalfFull(3 comments)posted 5 years ago

I feel soo bad for all the feigns! But none of this surprises me, very typical of mahoning county unfortunately- This town has a big drug problem, an epidemic & I hate it and have been effected by it (before anybody wants to comment on how bias I am being) $200,000 worth?! OMG that is alot of dope- I am sure that is probably everyone's connect in the whole county. I am so glad they got that much off of the streets, but I cannot help but to feel bad for all of the addicts-

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10VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 5 years ago

How about checking for birth certificates? Has anyone checked?

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11Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years ago


""Really? You really think that the prisons are "drug free zones"?""

Might be hard to believe but yes, they are "drug free zones", don't always believe what you see on your little court TV shows.

""We need to STOP prosecuting addicts and start rehabilitating them instead.""

Rehab don't work. I can vouch for that. They only way Rehab works is if the addict is 100% committed.

""News Flash: Prohibition doesn't work.""

Agree with you on that.

""We shouldn't be treating addicts any differently then we treat alcoholics.""

I've been in prison for my alcohol. I've been through so many rehabs and hospitals for my addiction, but you know what it took to be sober, PRISON. Not petty county jails but PRISON and North Coast Correctional Institute (Grafton, Oh) is a prison for the addicts. Excellent program there. It's been 2 1/2 years since I've been out and I'm still clean. Before that, I couldn't go a day....

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12Traveler(606 comments)posted 5 years ago

I have watched people i care about call friends some that i call family go through problems with drugs. I can tell you that the system we have now dosent work. That we need to change the way we deal with drugs.

For drug dealers the ones that you read about that get caught with thousands of dollars and large amounts of drugs. Should be treated as murders because what there selling is poison that destroy family and terrorist because they do more damage to our way of life then AL Qaeda could every Dream.

For people with drug addictions I think mandatory drug treatment programs in jails for addicts are the only way to go anymore. Get them clean force them to do treatment. Then follow up with half way house and parole where they have to submit to weekly drug test and show proof that they are getting on going treatment.

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