Fentanyl Distribution in Utica: 2 Men Plead Guilty, Face Years in Prison
Two Utica men will each spend at least a decade in prison for distributing fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid, linked to many fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses.
The U.S. Attorney's Office announced guilty pleas this week in two cases involving Utica residents - Eric Ares, 37, and Ivan Jose Rodriguez, 47.
Ares admitted that between May 2020 and October of 2021, he conspired with intent to possess and distribute fentanyl, and a similar count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, as part of the 'Rodriguez drug trafficking organization,' federal prosecutors said.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez has also pleaded guilty to conspiring with intent to possess and distribute fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl, along with one count of money laundering during that same 18-month timeframe of May 202 through October of 2021.
Both are due to be sentenced on April 6 of next year. Each faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life behind bars, prosecutors say. Each also could faces fines totaling up to $10 million.
The investigation into fentanyl distribution in the case included numerous law enforcement agencies, including: Utica Police, Rome Police, the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, the IRS, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York State Police, the Oneida County District Attorney's Office, Syracuse Police, the United States Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office, the New York Army National Guard Counter Drug Program, the village of Yorkville Police and the Village of Whitesboro Police Department.