WILMINGTON, DE — David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that on February 16, 2023, Henri Sosa-Gomez, 36, New York, NY, Jamel Romero, 30, New York, NY, Leonel Abreu-Montero, 31, Wilmington, DE, John Doe aka Arison Hernandez-Acevado, 31, Wilmington, DE, and Christian Sanchez, 23, Wilmington, DE, have been charged by a federal grand jury sitting in Wilmington with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl and cocaine in the Wilmington, Delaware metropolitan area.
According to public documents and statements made in open court, this investigation began after a double overdose in Chester County, PA, resulting in the death of a 50-year-old woman in November 2022. Through a multi-state effort involving U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and the Chester County Detectives, law enforcement identified a drug trafficking organization (“DTO”) headed by Sosa-Gomez and Romero that supplied fentanyl and cocaine from New York to Delaware.
A subsequent investigation revealed that Romero, who resided in the Bronx, traveled from New York to deliver the controlled substances and to collect proceeds from a network of sub-distributors, including defendants Abreu-Montero, Hernandez-Acevado, and Sanchez, who then carried out and completed the drug transactions in Delaware.
On January 17, 2023, law enforcement arrested Romero and Abreu-Montero after they completed a drug transaction in Wilmington. Law enforcement recovered approximately one (1) kilogram of baked crack cocaine mixed with fentanyl, approximately one (1) kilogram of fentanyl, and about $50,000 in U.S. currency from Romero and Abreu-Montero. Law enforcement recovered additional fentanyl after determining that the DTO buried narcotics in a densely wooded area near Hockessin, DE, off W. Rolling Mill Road.
Law enforcement also contemporaneously executed search warrants for several locations and vehicles in Delaware, New York, and Maryland. A Hazardous Materials (or “Hazmat”) Team was called in to conduct a search of a Bronx residence because the residence was deemed unsafe for entry due to the amount of fentanyl and cocaine that had been cooked, mixed, and processed within the residence. During the search of the Bronx residence, law enforcement recovered approximately twelve (12) kilograms of fentanyl, about one (1) kilogram of Xylazine (a potent horse tranquilizer not approved for human use that is being linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths nationwide), cocaine, cooking materials, cutting agents, gas masks, a kilogram press, money counters, and an additional $31,000 in U.S. currency.
In announcing the Indictment, U.S. Attorney Weiss stated: “As overdoses continue to ravage our community, we will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who knowingly sell drugs that kill. We are grateful for our state and federal law enforcement partners who acted vigilantly to remove harmful drugs from our streets and to help bring some justice to the victim’s family. My office will seek significant federal prison sentences against all who seek to profit from illegal drug sales.”
“Cases like the one announced today make a true difference in the communities of Delaware,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia William S. Walker. “Today’s announcement underscores HSI’s mission and highlights the importance of teamwork, tenacity, and partnerships. As a result, investigators and prosecutors, working side-by-side and sharing information seamlessly have disrupted a drug trafficking organization operating throughout the Northeast.”
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Weiss, HSI Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker, and DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey S. Wagner commended the work of those who investigated the case, including agents from HSI, DEA, and the Chester County Detectives. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Newport, DE Police Department, the Newark, DE Police Department, and the Delaware State Police; the Kennett Township, PA Police Department; the Elkton, MD Police Department, the Cecil County, MD Sheriff’s Office, the Cecil County, MD Drug Task Force, and the Maryland State Police; the New York City Police Department and the New York State Police; HSI’s Baltimore and New York Divisions; the United States Postal Inspection Service; the Chester County District Attorney’s Office; and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Maryland and the Southern District of New York.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin P. Pierce and Claudia L. Pare are assigned to prosecute the case.
Information, a criminal complaint, or an arrest is not a declaration of guilt. A suspect, arrestee, or defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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