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Eight charged in connection with large drug trafficking ring in Rochester

(WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) – Eight people were arrested Monday in connection with a large drug trafficking ring in the Rochester area.

The arrests came after the execution of search warrants across the city – including at an address on Burbank Street, at which police say at least one suspect fired at officers. No law enforcement officials were hurt in the incident; police say two suspects were taken to the hospital after police returned fire.

Carlos Javier Figueroa, 39, Roberto Figueroa, 42, Leitscha Poncedeleon, 28, Orlando Yelder, 36, Jose Justiliano-Rodriguez, 18, Jashua Figueroa, 19, and Obed Torresall, 21, were each charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute and distribution of five kilograms or more of cocaine and use of a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking.

All of the suspects are from Rochester. If convicted, they could face a minimum of 10 years in prison, and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

An eighth individual, Felix Figueroa, was charged in a separate complaint. He is facing a charge of distribution of cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

In April 2017, prosecutors say a member of the organization came to police, claiming Carlos Figueroa was willing to put out a reward for their murder, and the individual feared for their safety. This launched the investigation that would eventually lead to the eight arrests Monday.

According to federal prosecutors, Carlos Javier Figueroa was the leader of a drug trafficking organization which distributed cocaine in Rochester and was involved in transportation sand sale of drugs – as well as acts of violence.

Prosecutors say Carlos Javier Figueroa coordinated cocaine shipments from Puerto Rico, which were sent to locations in Rochester through the post office. At least 23 packages are said to have been sent to Rochester and picked up by Carlos Javier Figueroa, Roberto Figueroa and Poncedeleon. The cocaine was allegedly broken down and packaged to be distributed by others, including Yelder, Justiliano-Rodriguez, Jashua Figueroa, Felix Figueroa and Torresall.

In December, ATF investigators began using wiretaps and surveillance to investigate at least four residences in the Rochester area. On January 29, 2018, search warrants were executed on those properties. Investigators reportedly recovered more than $600,000, six assault rifles, two loaded handguns, more than two kilograms of cocaine and a quantity of suspected heroin and fentanyl.

The houses were located on Burbank Street, Barrington Street, Fernwood Avenue, and East Main Street in Rochester.

Investigators say two suspects connected to the case were wounded after officers returned fire when arriving at 6 Burbank Street Monday morning. One of the suspects is said to have suffered serious injuries.

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