By Joe Gorman
Five people who were charged last November with being part of a ring that shipped illegal drugs from New York to the Youngstown area entered guilty pleas in U.S. Northern District of Ohio.
Pleading guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin were Luis Cruz, 41, and Frankie Torres, 27, both of Youngstown, and Caroline Alba-Ventura, 24, of New York City; pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and possession with intent to distribute heroin was Carlos Gonalez, 37, of Campbell; and pleading guilty to four counts of possession with intent to distribute heroin was Bradley C. Jackson, 28, of Youngstown.
Sentencings are set for Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 in U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio in Cleveland.
Court documents said Alba-Ventura drove the heroin from New York to Youngstown and that Jackson sold heroin from homes on East Florida Avenue and Park Heights. Gonzalez also sold heroin, court documents said.
Nine people were charged in the investigation, which took 15 months to complete.
During the course of the investigation, agents with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration seized about 4 kilos of heroin, $200,000 in cash, nine vehicles, 26 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
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, authorities said.