Feds: Rochester infant’s suspected fatal overdose triggers investigation into drug trafficking ring

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A six-month-old is Monroe County’s youngest victim of a drug overdose this year.

The child was found in an apartment on Jay Street, unconscious and not breathing, on Aug. 1. The child’s grandmother told first responders she had pulled a baggie of heroin from his mouth.

The child died at Strong Memorial Hospital.

His death triggered an investigation into what federal investigators describe as a drug trafficking ring on Rochester’s west side, according to federal court documents.

The ring, allegedly headed up by Wayne McDaniels aka “Wayno” aka “O,” trafficked fentanyl and cocaine throughout the city, according to court paperwork. They operated drug houses at 21 Maria St, 114 and 116 Otis St., 21 Lorimer St., and 755 Jay St. – which is where the child overdosed. He lived at the apartment with his 17-year-old father and grandmother.

The court documents maintain members of the McDaniels’ drug trafficking organization had been under investigation by several law enforcement agencies for a long time. But the most recent investigation was triggered by the baby’s death and focused on drug sales at the house on Jay Street and 594 Campbell Street.

Investigators installed cameras on nearby utility poles, worked with confidential informants, and sent in agents to do controlled buys. The feds say they have evidence of a steady stream of customers coming to the houses to buy drugs and footage of hand-to-hand drug sales.

Individual envelopes of fentanyl cost around $5 apiece while cocaine cost $20 each; fentanyl could also be bought in bulk.

Search warrants at multiple locations in the city, the feds say, yielded fentanyl, cocaine, items used for preparing and packaging drugs for sale, and guns.

The latest investigation led to the arrest of six people, four of whom are named in court documents: McDaniels, Willie Spirles, Ronnie Spirles, and Darren Lofton.