Utica man pleads guilty to large fentanyl conspiracy


Date: December 8, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Syracuse, NY — Eric Ares, of Utica, New York, pled guilty yesterday to one count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and to distribute fentanyl, and one count of possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl, announced United States Attorney Carla Freedman, Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division and Thomas Fattorusso, Executive Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), New York Field Office.

In pleading guilty, Ares admitted that from May 2020 through October 2021, he, together with his co-conspirators in the Rodriguez drug trafficking organization, possessed with intent to distribute and distributed fentanyl in the Utica, New York area. Ares admitted to making numerous trips to the New York City area to purchase fentanyl, which he then drove back to the Utica area where he and others re-distributed it. Ares admitted that on September 20, 2021, he drove to the New York City area and received 3 kilograms of fentanyl for redistribution. Law enforcement officers stopped the vehicle Ares was driving and recovered 3 kilograms of fentanyl hidden inside a speaker in the trunk.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 6, 2023, before United States District Judge David N. Hurd. Ares faces a minimum of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10 million, and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life. A defendant's sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.

This case is being investigated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the United States Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), the New York State Police, the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, the Oneida County District Attorney's Office, the City of Utica Police Department, the City of Syracuse Police Department, the City of Rome Police Department, United States Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE), the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office, the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office, the New York Army National Guard Counter Drug Program, the Village of Yorkville Police Department, and the Village of Whitesboro Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamara Thomson.