By Mark Hallum
A Maspeth man was among seven individuals arrested by federal agents on Dec. 5 for alleged involvement in a heroin distribution ring that operated in Williamsburg and surrounding communities.
Robert Martinez, 34, faces a minimum sentence of 10 years if convicted of the drug charges, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The FBI and NYPD have investigated the drug trafficking ring since fall of 2017 by intercepting communications and through physical surveillance which showed they had distributed heroin across the city and even as far as Hawaii over the course of several months.
“As alleged, the defendants distributed opioids day after day in our community, feeding addiction without regard for the potentially lethal consequences of their actions,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said. “With today’s arrests, the drug ring has been dismantled and the defendants will now be held to account in a court of law.”
Members of the ring allegedly bragged about the potency of the product they were selling, referring to it as “fever” or “fire,” according to the court.
On Wednesday morning, law enforcement agents executed search warrants at the defendants’ residences in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan, seizing about 150 grams of heroin as evidence.
“The epidemic of opioid abuse is a public health crisis. Those who choose to profit from trafficking in these potent narcotics show a flagrant disregard not just for the law, but for the safety of their communities,” Sweeney said. “As alleged, these defendants enabled the cycle of addiction with their narcotics distribution enterprise spanning the country. The FBI will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to get drug traffickers and their dangerous products off the streets.”
Law enforcement agents also retrieved more than five pounds of marijuana, 150 pairs of luxury sneakers, $20,000 in cash.
Martinez was allegedly found in possession of a stolen .40 caliber Glock with 80 rounds of ammo.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall