Three Defendants Arrested For Operating Narcotics Delivery Service Responsible For Three Overdose Deaths From Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine – Department of Justice

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Tim Foley, the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and Keechant Sewell, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced that BILLY ORTEGA, a/k/a “Jason,” and KAYLEN RAINEY were charged in a criminal complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court with narcotics conspiracy resulting in the deaths of Julia Ghahramani, Ross Mtangi, and Amanda Scher in Manhattan, New York.  WILLIAM DRAYTON was also charged in the complaint as a member of the conspiracy.  ORTEGA, RAINEY, and DRAYTON, were arrested today and will be presented this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “As alleged, the defendants operated an on-demand delivery service for the distribution of highly addictive and dangerous drugs.  The cocaine distributed by defendants Ortega and Rainey on behalf of their delivery service was laced with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl, and as alleged, caused the deaths of three victims on a single day.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of law enforcement, the defendants’ deadly delivery service is out of business.”       
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said: “As this federal complaint makes clear, our NYPD investigators will stop at nothing in their work to arrest anyone accused of selling illegal, fentanyl-laced narcotics without regard for their deadly consequences. I would like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, and all of our law enforcement partners, for achieving a measure of justice in this important case.”
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Timothy Foley said:  “Allegedly, through this illegal drug distribution network, death was delivered to New Yorkers.  Fentanyl has added additional danger to recreational drug use.  DEA will continue to investigate those responsible for distributing illegal drugs throughout our communities in an effort to save lives.” 
According to the allegations in the complaint[1]:
From at least in or about 2020 to at least in or about 2021, ORTEGA, RAINEY, and DRAYTON operated a narcotics delivery service (the “Delivery Service”) in the New York City area.  ORTEGA was the central contact who, like a dispatcher, coordinated narcotics deliveries with his couriers and his customers.   RAINEY and DRAYTON were two of ORTEGA’s drug couriers.  In the course of a single day – March 17, 2021 – RAINEY, after being dispatched by ORTEGA, delivered fentanyl-laced cocaine to Ghahramani, Mtangi, and Scher at three separate locations in Manhattan.  All three victims died after consuming the drugs distributed by ORTEGA and RAINEY.  DRAYTON was another courier who delivered narcotics to Ghahramani and others, on other occasions, on behalf of the Delivery Service.
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BILLY ORTEGA, 35, of West Milford, New Jersey; KAYLEN RAINEY, 30, of Manhattan, New York; and WILLIAM DRAYTON, 30, of Hackensack, New Jersey, are each charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and cocaine.  ORTEGA and RAINEY are also charged with causing the deaths of the three victims in connection with the narcotics conspiracy, with carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.  The statutory minimum and maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) New York Strike Force, and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (“HIDTA”) Intelligence Analysts for their support and assistance in this matter.  The OCDETF New York Strike Force is a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies supported by OCDETF and HIDTA.  The Strike Force is affiliated with the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA, NYPD, New York State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, New York National Guard, Clarkstown Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Washington Police Department, and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.  Mr. Williams also thanked the West Milford Police Department for their invaluable assistance in this case.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Micah Fergenson and Michael Herman are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 
[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the complaint, and the description of the complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.
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