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Rochester Man Pleads Guilty To His Role In Large Drug Trafficking Organization: Including Shooting At Rival Gang Members And Police Officers

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Obed Torres Garcia, 23, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one kilogram or more of heroin, and using, carrying and discharging firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr.  The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison, and a $10,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert A. Marangola, Cassie M. Kocher, and Katelyn M. Hartford, who are handling the case, stated that between 2015 and January 29, 2018, the defendant was a member of a drug trafficking organization led by Carlos Javier Figueroa, which was responsible for the transportation and sale of cocaine and heroin, and for acts of violence in furtherance of the organization’s drug trade, including an exchange of gunshots with members of the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Taskforce (G.R.A.N.E.T.). Various locations throughout Rochester were utilized to receive, store, and sell the supply of illegal narcotics, which were shipped from Puerto Rico.

As an active member of the Figueroa drug trafficking organization, Garcia, among other things, packaged cocaine and heroin for distribution, and personally distributed significant quantities of cocaine and heroin. Also, in furtherance of the conspiracy, the defendant and other members of the organization used and maintained a residence at 820 East Main Street in Rochester, for the purpose of packaging, storing, and distributing quantities of cocaine and heroin. Between December 2017 and January 29, 2018, Garcia lived in the apartment, which was paid for by Carlos Javier Figueroa in exchange for the defendant’s work for the organization. 

On January 29, 2018, at 6 Burbank Street in Rochester, Garcia discharged a handgun in the direction of G.R.A.N.E.T. officers who were attempting to execute a search warrant at the location. Officers, who the defendant admits were justified in their use of force, exchanged fire and Garcia suffered a traumatic brain injury from a gunshot wound. As a result of the traumatic brain injury, the defendant has no memory of the events of January 29, 2018. However, after a thorough review of all relevant evidence with attorneys, Garcia did not dispute that had the case gone to trial the government would have proved these facts beyond a reasonable doubt through civilian and police witness testimony and forensic evidence. As part of his plea, defendant further admitted that in addition to the January 29, 2018, police-involved shootings, he, in December 2016, while distributing heroin in the vicinity of the Valero gas station located near the intersection of Clinton Avenue and Hoeltzer Street in Rochester, shot at rival drug dealers who were also present using a 9mm handgun.

“The defendant’s willingness to support the lawless objectives of this drug trafficking organization knew no bounds,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “The bad decisions made by defendant—from distributing drugs, to shooting at rival gang members, to shooting at the police—came at a heavy price. In the end, all that defendant has to show for his unwavering commitment to this criminal enterprise are a traumatic brain injury and the prospects of a lengthy prison sentence.”

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Violent Crime Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito, New York Field Division; the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief La’Ron Singletary; the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Todd Baxter; the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney Sandra Doorley; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Buffalo Division, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division; the Greece Police Department, under the direction of Chief Patrick Phelan; the Brighton Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Catholdi; and U.S. Border Patrol, under the direction of Patrol Agent-in-Charge Eduardo Payan.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 28, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Geraci.


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