Investigation Seized Over 600 Glassines Of Controlled Substances, Including Heroin Laced With Animal Tranquilizer
Schneiderman: Dangerous Drug Trafficking Rings Like What We Have Allegedly Uncovered During Operation Times Up Threaten The Safety And Stability Of Our Communities
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York City Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill announced the indictment of 10 individuals for their alleged involvement in a heroin distribution ring operating in Kings County, Queens County, and surrounding areas in New York State. The network allegedly illegally trafficked heroin which was cut with ketamine – an animal tranquilizer—as well as cocaine, on a daily basis to various parts of New York City.
Over the course of the investigation, which was led by the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York City Police Department’s Brooklyn North Gang Squad, authorities seized over 600 glassines of controlled substances, including heroin and ketamine. Dubbed “Operation Times Up” after investigators seized glassines containing heroin and ketamine which were proprietarily branded with the stamp “Times Up.” These stamps, according to investigators, were Christopher Quinones’ calling card, who was the leader of the multi-county heroin trafficking ring. The branding signaled to buyers that these drugs came from him. Wiretaps caught the defendants discussing their drug transactions in a cryptic and coded manner in the hope of avoiding detection by law enforcement, referring to heroin as donuts and cocaine as cookies.
“Dangerous drug trafficking rings like what we have allegedly uncovered during Operation Times Up threaten the safety and stability of our communities. We won’t hesitate to crackdown and prosecute drug kingpins to the fullest extent of the law when they fuel the vicious cycle of addiction across New York State,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
“Heroin is killing Americans at an alarming rate. The ten arrests made this morning on heroin-related charges in New York City is the precision policing that saves lives,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “I want to thank the NYPD detectives and the investigators from the Attorney General’s Office for their work that led to today’s arrests.”
The 89 count indictment, unsealed today in court, charged three individuals, Raphael Rodriguez, Saul Drullard, and Melvin Nieves, with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II Felony, which carries a mandatory sentencing range of three to ten years determinate in state prison. Additionally, all defendants were charged with counts of Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, class B felonies, which carries a mandatory sentencing range of one to nine years determinate in state prison, and with conspiracy in the Second Degree, also a class B felony. The central target in this conspiracy, Christopher Quinones, is facing 40 separate charges for Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance charges.
This narcotics ring included 10 people charged with Conspiracy to commit Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree:
- Christopher Quinones, of Brooklyn, New York
- Melvin Nieves, of Staten Island, New York
- Raphael Rodriguez, of Queens, New York
- Pablo Rodriguez, of Queens, New York
- Walter Quinones, of Brooklyn, New York
- Jose Perez, of Brooklyn, New York
- Johnny Gonzalez, of Brooklyn, New York
- Victor Beltran, of Brooklyn, New York
- Saul Drullard, of Queens, New York
- Brian Estevez, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The investigation was conducted by OCTF Investigator Kyle Vitale-O’Sullivan, Supervising Investigator Brad Miller, Deputy Chief Investigator Christopher Vasta, together with NYPD Detective Michael Scoloveno, Sergeant Ryan Gillis, and members of the Brooklyn North Gang Squad unit, under the supervision of Captain Craig Edelman. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.
The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Caitlin Carroll. Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff runs the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force.
The charges against the defendants are accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.