ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- With bandages on his hand and head, one of two people shot by drug enforcement officers conducting a raid appeared in court to answer allegations he helped traffic drugs between Puerto Rico and the Rochester area.
Jose Justiliano-Rodriguez, 18, was clearly wounded in a shootout on Burbank Street, where police said five officers opened fire after Obed Torres, 21, allegedly shot first.
Torres was wounded and taken to the hospital, where he was initially listed in serious condition. None of the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team officers, who were executing a search warrant, were hit.
Justiliano-Rodriguez, Jashua Figueroa and Torres are among eight people charged. Authorities seized $600,000 in cash, six assault rifles, two loaded handguns, more than two kilograms of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.
U.S. Attorney James Kennedy said the investigation into this group started years ago. In April, the Major Crimes Unit and Special Investigations Unit of the Rochester Police Department received information that someone from this organization was afraid he/she was going to be killed.
The tipster also suggested Carlos Javier Figueroa, the alleged leader of the drug trafficking operation, had killed people in the past and had a reward out for this person's murder. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used a wiretap to start listening to Figueroa's home and stash houses where shipments were kept.
Federal authorities say in September 2017, at least 23 packages of cocaine from Puerto Rico came through the mail. Carlos, also known as Javi and Big Bro, along with Roberto Figueroa and Leitischa Poncedeleona allegedly picked the packages up, took the drugs from inside, broke them down, and had the other suspects distribute them.
The drugs were allegedly distributed by Orlando Yelder, Felix Figueroa, Justiliano-Rodriguez, Jashua Figueroa and Torres. All eight suspects were charged with intent to distribute cocaine and use of a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking.