Criminal Justice News

Friday, December 23, 2016

Rochester Man Sentenced for Role in Drug Conspiracy



ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Winifredo Gonzales, a/k/a Fred, a/k/a Chin, 44, of Brooklyn, NY, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, was sentenced today to 19 years in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. Gonzales was also ordered to forfeit three firearms, over 100 rounds of ammunition, and $78,603 in U.S. currency.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Marangola, who handled the case, stated that Gonzales was arrested in February of 2015 along with Edward Mighty, a/k/a Mighty, from Rochester, and seven other Rochester individuals. Gonzales supplied kilogram quantities of cocaine to Mighty, the leader of a Rochester-based drug trafficking organization. The cocaine was transported by Mighty’s workers from Brooklyn to Rochester where the powder cocaine was processed, re-packaged, and distributed in various quantities of both powder and crack cocaine through multiple sellers in the greater Rochester area. Mighty’s organization supplied numerous upper and mid-level cocaine distributors.

On February 10, 2015, law enforcement officers monitored a vehicle utilized by the organization to transport kilograms of cocaine from Brooklyn to Rochester. Shortly before surveillance, officers observed the vehicle arrive at 126 New Jersey Avenue in Brooklyn and depart about 15 minutes later. As agents executed a search warrant and arrested defendant Gonzales at that address, other agents monitored the vehicle as it traveled to Rochester. Inside the Brooklyn residence, officers found 17 kilograms of cocaine in a hydraulic secret compartment behind a wall with two handguns, including an Uzi 9mm pistol. Officers also seized approximately $70,000 in U.S. currency wrapped in black tape and plastic wrap from a safe.

Meanwhile, the vehicle was monitored as it traveled from Brooklyn to 54 Strong Street in Rochester, the center of the Rochester drug distribution activities. A few minutes after it arrived, officers executed search warrants on 54 Strong Street, the trap car, and 319 Alphonso Street. At 54 Strong Street, Mighty and another individual who was driving the car, were taken into custody. Inside the car, officers found one kilogram of cocaine in a hydraulic compartment behind the front center vent. Inside 54 Strong Street, officers recovered a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with 11 rounds of live ammunition, 13 rounds of live .357 caliber ammunition, Western Union receipts, multiple cell phones, drug distribution paraphernalia, and $3,941 in U.S. currency.

Of the nine individuals charged, Gonzalez and one other have been convicted. Charges are pending against the remaining seven defendants. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Today’s sentencing is the culmination of a joint federal and state wiretap investigation on the part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan Benedict, New York Field Division, and the Monroe County District Attorney's Office, under the direction of Sandra Doorley.

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