Operation Snow Globe

Photos courtesy of the Cleveland FBI

Twenty-six people were indicted in federal court for their roles in two separate conspiracies to bring large amounts of drugs – including fentanyl, heroin and cocaine – to Northeast Ohio, law enforcement officials said.

Fifteen people were charged in a 29-count indictment with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and U-47700 (a fentanyl analogue). They are: Irwin Jose Vargas, 42, of Euclid; Keyra Linnette Martinez, 42, of Euclid; Irwing Vargas Rosario, 24, of Cleveland; Isidoro M. Gonzalez, 41, of Cleveland; Alcides Garcia, 46, of Ponce, Puerto Rice; Austin Natale, 27, of Cleveland; Kayle Mae Jonela, 22, of Brook Park; Rosemary Howell, 55, of Cleveland; Dennis Mansfield, 58, of Cleveland; William Rodriguez, 41, of Cleveland; Jeffrey Mack, 44, of Cleveland; Victor Felix, 39, of Cleveland; Nelson Benitez, Jr., 34, of Cleveland; Thomas Lopez, 39, of Cleveland, and Edgar Arroyo, 37, of Cleveland.

Twelve people were charged in a 26-count indictment with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, N-Ethyl Pentalone (an analogue to MDMA or “molly”) and marijuana. They are: Emad Silmi, 43, of North Olmsted; Christopher Young, 46, of Westlake; Herbert Shaw, 44, of Cleveland; Samer Abu-Kwaik, 46, of Cleveland; Nelson Benitez, Jr., 34, of Cleveland; Jonathan Smith, 34, of Lathrup Village, Mich.; John D. Ciarlillo, 42, of Medina; Anthony Quinn Greenlee, 26, of Huron; Santana Jones, 22, of Cleveland; Gregory Lowery, 32, of Painesville; Mogahed Mustafa, 30, of North Olmsted, and Erkan Nevzadi, 29, of Cleveland.

Benitez is charged in both indictments.

“These groups brought hundreds of pounds of dangerous drugs into Northeast Ohio and sold them throughout our community,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said. “We will continue to work collaboratively to shut off the flow of drugs and seek long prison sentences for traffickers.”

“This long term investigation was aimed at stopping dangerous drugs from flowing into our city and streets, and holding accountable those that choose to illegally pollute our communities. Heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and synthetic opioids were among the drugs seized, and the FBI, along with our many law enforcement partners, are committed to working to defeat this menacing threat one drug trafficking organization at a time."

"This investigation was the culmination of strong relationships between the various law enforcement partners,” Cuyahoga County Sheriff Cliff Pinckney said. “The Sheriff's Department will always vigorously pursue drug traffickers in conjunction with this partnership."

“Today's massive take down marks a major step forward in combating illegal opiate sales within the city of Cleveland,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said. “As you can see from this joint effort, law-enforcement remains committed to erasing this problem in Northeast Ohio. Further, we encourage anyone battling addiction to utilize the many resources that are available and to strive to get well.”

Vargas, Martinez and Gonzales arranged for shipments of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine from Puerto Rico between 2016 and the present. These shipments included at least a kilogram of fentanyl, a kilogram of heroin and five kilograms of cocaine. Many of these shipments came through the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS, according to the indictment.

Vargas, Martinez, Gonzales and Rosario then sold the drugs to other drug traffickers in Cleveland. Members of the conspiracy used several locations in Greater Cleveland to receive, store and distribute the drugs, including: 4705 Bridge Ave. (Vargas’ business, Santiago Auto Care Services, also known as Capu Auto and Sound); 6841 Day Drive, Apartment 605, in Parma and 754 Hemlock Drive in Euclid (Vargas’ and Martinez’s residences); 3871 Ridge Road (Gonzales’ business, Ways to Save Auto Sales); 5601 Wichita Ave. (Gonzales’ residence) and 11901 Lena Ave. (Howell’s and Mansfield’s residence), according to the indictment.

Vargas and Martinez often used the U.S. Postal Service online system to track shipments of parcels sent to Northeast Ohio from Puerto Rico, as well as packages shipped from China to Puerto Rico, according to the indictment

In the second conspiracy, Silmi obtained large amounts of cocaine from Abu-Kwaik and then sold it to other drug dealers from his business Global Auto Body & Collision at 4317 W. 130th Street. He also obtained large amounts of N-Ethyl Pentylone – an analogue of “molly” – from Greenlee, which Greenlee had obtained from suppliers in China. Silmi sold the molly analogue to other dealers from his Cleveland auto body shop, according to the indictment.

Silmi obtained at least five kilograms of cocaine and more than 100 kilograms of marijuana between January 2016 and March 2017, according to the indictment.

Greenlee used 3006 Cleveland Road West, Apartment 8 in Huron (his residence) and U.S. Motor Sales at 4927 Brookpark Road in Parma (his business) to store and distribute drugs. Kwaik used U.S. Motor Sales at 4927 Brookpark Road, Parma, Ohio (his business) and 7358 Meadow Lane, Parma, Ohio (his residence) to store and distribute drugs, according to the indictment.

Greenlee and Nevzadi used firearms, ammunition and other weapons to protect their drug trafficking activities, according to the indictment.

Silmi is also charged with conspiracy to launder money as part of an effort to hide his drug profits, according to the indictment.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

Victor Felix

Victor Felix wanted.

William Rodriguez Huertas

William Rodriguez Huertas wanted.

The FBI seeks your help tracking down two fugitives.  They are Victor Felix, age 39, and William Rodriguez, age 40. Anyone with information regarding the location of either of these two individuals is encouraged to contact law enforcement.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, Cleveland Division of Police, the IRS, and members of the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area personnel.