3 Get Prison Time

Drug, Gun Trafficking

Posted: May 10, 2013

HARRISONBURG — A federal judge sentenced three men to prison Wednesday for participating in a heroin-and-gun-trafficking ring between the Friendly City and the City of Brotherly Love.

On Sept. 10, in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg, Ariel Alexander Batista pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to distribute heroin. On Feb. 14, two of his co-defendants in the case, Angel Ducvu and Jovany Caquis Torres, pleaded guilty to the same charge.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski sentenced Ducvu and Batista to three years in prison and Torres to roughly 3½ years.

Federal prosecutors say the ring began in April 2010 and operated until March 2012. The case, which was investigated by the RUSH Drug Task Force, involves 12 defendants.

Prosecutors claim Harrisonburg resident Ariel Batista and his brother, Albert Batista, traveled to Philadelphia in the summer of 2011 to buy heroin — roughly 18 grams each time — from Ducvu for redistribution, according to court documents.

Before each transaction, Ducvu would get the drugs from his source, a man known as “Moli,” according to the allegations spelled out in court documents.

Moli was later identified as Victor Gonzalez-Rodriguez, who pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin on Wednesday. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 18.

The Batistas are accused of transporting the drugs to the Shenandoah Valley and using more than a half-dozen dealers in Harrisonburg to sell them. Prosecutors say Torres was one of the local dealers.

Among the more prominent local dealers in the case was Vladimir Mazur, according to prosecutors.

Mazur, 25, was accused of breaking into a Page County deputy’s vehicle and stealing a flak jacket, an assault rifle and a shotgun in 2011.

On July 28 and Aug. 4, 2011, prosecutors say, Mazur broke into the Rockingham Cooperative, then located at 101 W. Grace St. in Harrisonburg, and stole 32 firearms. Police say Mazur traded some of the stolen guns for heroin to Luis Rodriguez Jr. of Harrisonburg.

Police also allege that Mazur traded the shotgun stolen in Page County to another dealer for 2 ounces of marijuana.

A federal jury convicted Mazur on March 4 of four felonies, including conspiracy to distribute heroin. He’s scheduled to be sentenced June 5.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty on Aug. 28 to three felonies: conspiring to distribute heroin, distributing heroin and possession of a firearm to further a drug trafficking crime. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Cases against the remaining defendants are pending.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or pdelea@dnronline.com

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