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Crime & Cases October 9, 2014  RSS feed

Arrest B’wick Man As Drug Ring Boss

Allegedly Dealt Heroin & Meth
by Robert Pozarycki

A grand jury indicted last week a Bushwick man and five other individuals allegedly tied to a heroin and crystal meth distribution ring that did business in Brooklyn, Queens and Pennsylvania, prosecutors announced.

Gustavo Adolfo (a.k.a. Chili) Solis, 35, of Putnam Avenue in Bushwick reportedly led the operation, which members of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City and the Kings County District Attorney’s office busted earlier this year.

In the course of the investigation, law enforcement agents seized more than 3 lbs. of methamphetamine, found in a hidden compartment inside one of the suspects’ cars, and 400 pounds of heroin concealed in a baby wipe container.

Solis was indicted last week along with four alleged associates: Ricardo (a.k.a. Bori) Castro, 43, of Sanford Avenue in Flushing; Sandra (a.k.a. Parcera or Parcerita) Leitong, 45, of Sheridan Avenue in Cypress Hills; Rafael (a.k.a. Rafy) Cordero, 35, of Ashford Street in Cypress Hills; and Ricardo (a.k.a. Riki) Salas, 32, of Reading, Pa.

They were variously charged with second-degree conspiracy, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal sale of a controlled substance and attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance.

Castro’s wife—Erika Ramirez, 34, of Sanford Avenue in Flushing—was additionally booked on charges of criminal facilitation.

“The main defendants were critical lynch pins in the drug distribution chain,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said in a statement announcing the indictment last Thursday, Oct. 2. “They facilitated the transfer of highly addictive and potentially lethal heroin and methamphetamine from wholesalers to street level dealers. Working closely with the DEA, we removed a significant quantity of drugs bound for our city’s streets and cut off a source of supply for out-of-state organizations.”

“Not only were these defendants supplying heroin in Brooklyn and Queens, they also supplied three pounds of methamphetamine that was destined to destroy lives in Pennsylvania,” added Kings County District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson. “We have not seen that quantity of meth here, indicating that this was a major network.”

“What started as simple surveillance developed into a complex investigation targeting a Brooklyn drug ring with ties to Mexican sources of supply,” said DEA Acting Special Agent-in- Charge James J. Hunt.

Law enforcement sources said the indictment, along with previous searches and arrests of the suspects, were the result of a four-month investigation begun in March that involved the use of physical and electronic surveillance, including courtauthorized wiretaps.

Based on the probe, investigators determined Solis led the ring and, in May, collaborated with Castro, Leitong and Salas to ship crystal meth to Pennsylvania.

On May 19, prosecutors said, the three suspects met at Leitong’s home. Reportedly, she supplied the meth—smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico—from two unidentified carriers based in Houston, Texas.

Following the meeting, DEA and Special Narcotics Office personnel tracked Salas’ movements and stopped him inside his vehicle at the corner of Woodhaven Boulevard and 91st Avenue in Woodhaven.

There, the agents reportedly executed a court-authorized search warrant, which led to the discovery of a hidden compartment which contained approximately 3.4 lbs. of meth. The amount corresponded to a figure that Solis and Castro discussed in a phone conversation that authorities recorded.

Also found inside Salas’ vehicle was two pounds of lidocaine, a substance used to dilute methamphetamines.

Law enforcement agents arrested Leitong on Aug. 5 and subsequently learned she stored various drugs and regularly held meetings with her co-conspirators at her Cypress Hills residence.

Solis and Castro, meanwhile, found themselves in handcuffs on July 16 after law enforcement agents busted them with heroin outside Castro’s Flushing home.

According to the indictment, the pair allegedly met at the location and provided 400 grams of heroin to Cordero. Reportedly, Cordero acted as broker between Solis and unidentified drug dealers based in Baltimore, Md.

Investigators staked out Castro’s home and moved in shortly after observing Castro and Solis leaving the apartment building. The alleged ringleader was reportedly observed carrying a Babies ’R Us bag.

Prosecutors found the baby wipe container full of heroin in the bag Solis carried.

That same day, law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at Castro’s home and recovered items allegedly used to pack the drugs, including a hydraulic kilo press, a vacuum sealer machine and vacuum bags. Castro’s 2004 Porsche Carrera was also seized.

Ramirez was arrested on July 26, and Cordero was picked up by detectives two days thereafter.

Following their arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, according to records, Solis and Castro were released on $200,000 and $150,000 bail respectively. Leitong remains held on $100,000 bail, Cordero was released on $30,000 bail and Salas’ bail was set at $50,000. Ramirez was released on her own recognizance.