A Queens man who sent heroin from the Bronx to western New York and spent nearly two years on the run was charged Monday under the Drug Kingpin law after he had previously moved more than 151/2 pounds of the drug, worth an estimated street value of $3.5 million, State Police said.
Eury Rodriguez, 33, was among 15 individuals named in a 51-count indictment in Erie County in March 2011 -- after a nearly yearlong investigation -- but police said he managed to go underground to avoid arrest.
Members of the State Police special investigations unit in White Plains tracked leads on Rodriguez for the next 23 months. Investigators located Rodriguez at an undisclosed location and took him into custody without incident on Thursday, police said in a news release.
The alleged drug distribution network, which brought large quantities of heroin from the Bronx to Rochester and Buffalo, was dismantled 23 months ago as a result of hundreds of hours of covert surveillance and the use of wiretap evidence, police said. The 11-month investigation found that nearly 151/2 pounds of marijuana had moved, authorities said.
The members of the drug ring stashed the heroin in a Buffalo apartment and prepared it there for distribution, officials said.
With the arrest of Rodriguez, the alleged ring leader of the operation, additional arrests are pending. Police did not quantify those pending arrests.
Members of the special investigations unit, working with the State Police community narcotics enforcement team from western New York, were determined to locate Rodriguez despite reports he had left the country. It was not clear if he ever did, in fact, leave the country.
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico praised the work of special investigations and the community narcotics teams, saying each worked closely with state attorney general investigators.
"This drug kingpin terrorized communities across New York State," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. "We are safer now that he is in custody."
Rodriguez is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday at New York State Supreme Court in Erie County on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal sale of a controlled substance, both in the first degree; second-degree conspiracy; and operating as a major trafficker.