2 arrested by federal agents in drug bust
By Justin Dennis
Federal agents on Tuesday arrested two men who could face a federal indictment of bringing large amounts of cocaine and heroin to the area through the mail from Puerto Rico.
Jailed are Amaury Calderon Santiago, 27, and Felix Calderon Santiago, 29, both of Youngstown. They were held in the Mahoning County jail without bond then released to federal authorities Wednesday, according to jail records.
A complaint filed Tuesday in the U.S. Northern District Court states federal investigators began investigating Amaury Calderon Santiago for drug trafficking activity after a tip from Canfield City Police Department.
Investigators used a confidential source to make multiple controlled buys of several ounces of cocaine from Amaury Calderon Santiago on May 29 and June 6, according to the complaint.
That source also told investigators he previously had bought “multiple ounces” of cocaine as well as several grams of fentanyl-laced heroin from Amaury Calderon Santiago, and Amaury Calderon Santiago even offered to sell him a half-kilogram of cocaine, or more than 17 ounces, presumably to resell.
“Amaury Calderon Santiago informed [the source] that he and his ‘brothers’ are receiving several kilograms of cocaine and heroin each week from Puerto Rico,” the complaint states.
Those men, one of whom is identified in the complaint as Felix Calderon Santiago, maintained four “safe houses” on Youngstown’s East Side to use in drug transactions, according to the complaint: in the 1300 block of Landsowne Boulevard; 1500 block of Victor Avenue; 1500 block of Bennington Avenue; and 1700 block of Atkinson Street.
The FBI source wore a hidden audio-recording transmitter during the undercover drug deals, each time buying 2 ounces of cocaine for more than $2,000 in DEA money. During one buy, Amaury Calderon Santiago asked the source to partner with him and pool their money to start bringing drugs by the kilogram from Puerto Rico, according to the complaint.
Investigators reported being especially cautious to maintain the source’s cover.
“Members of the [Youngstown DEA] have knowledge, based on past narcotics investigations, that numerous members of the surrounding neighborhood have utilized counter-surveillance techniques in past investigations,” the complaint states.
However, after the June 6 deal, the source was caught attempting to steal $400 in DEA cash and about 14 grams of cocaine before meeting back up with agents. He was “deactivated” as a law- enforcement source.
Investigators noted the homes used by the Santiagos each “had received numerous packages from Puerto Rico as well as websites that [an investigator] knew ... to be associated with the dark web,” which is used to sell and purchase drugs, the complaint states.
The homes received more than 20 packages each weighing between 2 pounds and 9 pounds within the past year, according to the complaint. An Ohio State Highway Patrol narcotics dog picked one drug-laden package out of a lineup.
After obtaining a warrant, investigators found cocaine inside, the complaint states.
Amaury and Felix Calderon Santiago both face a federal count of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, according to court records. Felix Calderon Santiago is also charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, according to the district court bailiff.
Both appeared Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate George J. Limbert in Youngstown’s federal courthouse. Federal prosecutors motioned for continued detention hearings for both, which are set for next week.