NY drug ring peddled fentanyl to unsuspecting buyers

A violent upstate drug ring that peddled potentially deadly fentanyl to buyers who thought they were buying oxycodone had been busted, state authorities said Tuesday.

A group of 48 people were charged with various crimes for their involvement in helping to land illicit drugs, which also included heroin and cocaine, in five counties in the Finger Lakes region, New York Attorney General Letitia James said at a press conference in Rochester.

Law enforcement seized more than 10 kilograms of fentanyl, 10-plus kilograms of cocaine and more than a quarter pound of heroin totaling $9 million in the bust.

Some of the dealers, including a building super, “sold fentanyl in pill form, claiming that it was oxycodone, putting their buyers at even greater risk,” according to a press release from James’s office.

Authorities also netted 19 illegal firearms, including assault weapons and ghost guns, and $440,000 in cash during the ring’s bust-up, AG James said.

The arrests of the dozens of alleged drug peddlers were the culmination of a two-year investigation by James’ office that included covert surveillance and wiretaps in Wayne County.

Photo of drugs and guns
An upstate New York drug bust announced Tuesday netted fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and guns.
New York AG

The probe uncovered three interconnected rings that distributed drugs in Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca and Yates counties.

Michael Danzey, 38, and his brother, Terrance Raggs, 45, were the “primary source” of cocaine in Wayne County, the AG said.

Investigators also discovered that in June 2021, Danzey allegedly tried to kill a man who he thought was stealing from him by shooting him.

The man survived.

Danzey later roped his brother into helping him cover up the crime, James alleged.

Danzey is charged with attempted murder, and Raggs is charged with hindering the prosecution — in addition to drug charges they both face, James said.

Bags of fentanyl.
Law enforcement also seized more than 10 kilograms of fentanyl in the take-down.
New York AG

Investigators later discovered that Rochester was another major drug hub with a single block of Avenue D packed with multiple drug resellers, the AG said.

Buyers who came to the street were told to go to the “Green House,” “Blue House,” “Yellow House” and the “Camper” for drugs based on how they looked, the AG said.

The houses were run by Raymond Vega, 56, authorities said.

The Avenue D houses were supplied by Luis Rivera, 66, and his sons, who ran a “multi-kilogram level” scheme featuring fentanyl and cocaine out of a Rochester residential building where Luis was the superintendent, the AG said.

The Riveras put at least some of the fentanyl in pill form and claimed it was oxycodone, James’s office said.

Rivera arranged for drugs to be shipped from California to Rochester with the help of one of his sons, Jacob “J” Rivera, 32, who was running things from a Louisiana prison using smuggled cell phones, James said.

“Dozens of individuals were arrested and charged as a result of this investigation, they flooded local communities with drugs, and were armed with deadly weapons to support their illegal activities,” said James in a statement.

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