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DEA targets New York-to-Youngstown heroin ring



Published: Thu, November 14, 2013 @ 12:06 a.m.

youngstown

Agents seize drugs, cash, vehicles, guns and ammunition

By joe gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

youngstown

Federal Drug Enforcement Agency agents have begun dismantling a New York-to- Youngstown heroin distribution ring.

Bob Balzano, head of the Youngstown office of the DEA, said agents began serving search warrants and making arrests last week, culminating a 15-month investigation.

When serving the warrants, Balzano said more than a kilo of heroin was seized.

During the course of the investigation, agents seized about 4 kilos of heroin, $200,000 in cash, nine vehicles, 26 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, Balzano said.

Of the nine people who have arrest warrants issued, five are from Youngstown, two are from Campbell and the remaining two are from New York City.

According to an affidavit filed in the case in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio, Jhosy A. Lopez of the Bronx, N.Y., and Carlos Gonzalez of Campbell, distributed heroin in the area through Jose Pagan, who dealt it from his home in the 1600 block of Shehy Street on the East Side of Youngstown.

From there, the affidavit says, the heroin was then given to others to distribute including to Jose E. Lebron, who dealt it from 12th Street and Whipple Avenue addresses in Campbell and Bradley C. Jackson, who sold heroin from Park Heights and East Florida Avenue addresses.

Agents used several undercover informants to make drug buys and recorded the transactions, according to the affidavit. Agents also received warrants to tap the phones and intercept messages between members of the drug ring.

An interpreter was needed because a lot of the phone calls were in Spanish.

The affidavit described code words those in the ring would use to indicate they wanted to buy and sell heroin.

Agents also intercepted one of the members giving directions to Youngstown to the courier, Caroline Alba-Ventura, who would drive the drugs from New York to Youngstown.

Balzano said the investigation took so long because the ring was a large and sophisticated one.

He said investigators managed to obtain 21 federal warrants during their probe.

Other agencies that helped included the Youngstown Police Department, the FBI, the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The cooperation among the other agencies was the key to the investigation, Balzano said.

“It was a pretty good investigation,” Balzano said.


Comments

1southsidedave(4777 comments)posted 8 months ago

Apparently there is money in Youngstown after all...just not legal

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2auntiem4cabs(113 comments)posted 8 months ago

You know what bothers me? I just lost my job and an BELOW poverty level. Trying to go to school to better myself at age FIFTY FIVE (when I thought I would be nearing retirement) and I see TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS, and cringe. I could live off half of that for the rest of my life... and that money is floating around from junkies. Someday I'll understand, but today, when I can't stretch a buck... I am at a loss.

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3NancyB(19 comments)posted 8 months ago

Get help for heroin and painkiller addictions in a doctor’s office with the prescription medication buprenorphine. Go to TreatmentMatch.org - a nonprofit organization providing a free and confidential way to find certified doctors who can help. Learn more about bupe at naabt.org

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4bumslife(28 comments)posted 8 months ago

NancyB quit your scamming bullsh*t. Everyone knows where help is of a legal sort but EVERY article about this stuff winds up with your cookie cutter post! Enough already!

The rest o ya: NY isn't the big H corridor, Detroit and Chicago is where most of the valley's heroin comes from. This makes a dent, but it's only temporarily stopping one of 20 rings selling in Ytown!

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5papa1(626 comments)posted 8 months ago

when I think of heroin, I think of some junkie in an alley. apparently it has spread to all walks of life. what the hell is wrong with you people? I have no sympathy for you.

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6DACOUNTRYBOY(182 comments)posted 8 months ago

Heroin is used by the junkies higher up on the food chain. It allows them to kill each other with no conscience. They have my sympathy but not my support.

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