FBI: Fourteen Charged with Alleged Heroin and Cocaine Trafficking in the Bronx and Across the Hudson Valley

October 2, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on October 1, 2013 released the following:

“Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, Assistant Director-In-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Brian R. Crowell, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and Joseph A. D’Amico, the Superintendent of the New York State Police, announced the arrest of 14 defendants and the unsealing of an Indictment today charging conspiracies to distribute kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine in Beacon, the Bronx, the City of Middletown, the City of Newburgh, and New Windsor, New York.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Drug traffickers long ago discovered opportunities to peddle their venom way beyond city limits, and fortunately the law enforcement community is there to intercept them. Today’s arrests exemplify our unrelenting efforts to remove drug dealers from our streets and make them safe for law-abiding citizens, city and country.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos stated: “Heroin and cocaine are a scourge on society, often victimizing our cities’ most vulnerable. Today’s arrest and subsequent charges bring us one step closer to cleaning up our streets.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell stated: “Drug abuse claims more young people’s lives annually today than suicides, firearm deaths or school violence and unintentional drug overdose is the leading cause of injury death in 17 states, even more than automobile accidents. This case is a fine example of state, local and federal law enforcement to keep our neighborhoods safe from drug traffickers. I commend our law enforcement partners and our men and women who worked shoulder to shoulder on this investigation to make the streets safer for the residents and youth in the Newburgh area.”

NY State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico stated: “A significant amount of drugs will not make it into our communities as a result of the dedication and due diligence of investigators and prosecutors working collaboratively to wipe out these types of drug operations. It is through this cooperative effort among our partners in law enforcement that we will continue to target, and remove from our streets those who choose to engage in this type of illegal and dangerous activity.”

The Indictment charges 14 people, ESMERALDO HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Esmo,” 32, ABNER ALVAREZ, JR., 30, ABNER ALVAREZ, SR., 47, JAMES L. CANELLI III, 36, EMILIO CASTILLO, a/k/a “E,” 28, ANTHONY CESPEDES, a/k/a “Anth,” 27, MICHAEL FIGUEROA, a/k/a “Scooby,” 36, BRADLEY FRIEDLANDER, 30, DARRELL LOPEZ, a/k/a “D,” 32, CARLOS MARTINEZ, 30, RAUL OQUENDO, 32, NYGEL RIVERA, 22, RAMON URIBE, a/k/a “Polo,” 38, and BERNARDO VALENTIN, a/k/a “Chickie,” 42, with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute kilogram quantities of cocaine and/or heroin. The charges against each defendant and the corresponding maximum potential penalties are outlined in the chart attached to this press release.

Thirteen of the defendants charged in the Indictment unsealed today were arrested today or have previously been taken into custody. One, Darrell Lopez, remains at large as a fugitive. The defendants in custody are to be presented in White Plains federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge George A. Yanthis.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, the DEA, the New York State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Beacon Police Department, the City of Middletown Police Department, the City of Newburgh Police Department, the Town of Newburgh Police Department, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. . The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Gerber and Ilan Graff are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

UNT CHARGE DEFENDANTS MAXIMUM PENALTIES
1 Narcotics conspiracy (Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms and more of cocaine.) ESMERALDO HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Esmo,” ABNER ALVAREZ, JR., MICHAEL FIGUEROA, a/k/a “Scooby,” BRADLEY FRIEDLANDER, CARLOS MARTINEZ, RAUL OQUENDO, NYGEL RIVERA, RAMON URIBE, a/k/a “Polo,” BERNARDO VALENTIN, a/k/a “Chickie” Life in prison Mandatory minimum: 10 years in prison
2 Narcotics conspiracy (Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram and more of heroin.) ESMERALDO HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Esmo,” JAMES L. CANELLI III, EMILIO CASTILLO, a/k/a “E,” ANTHONY CESPEDES, a/k/a “Anth,” MICHAEL FIGUEROA, a/k/a “Scooby,” DARRELL LOPEZ, a/k/a “D,” a RAMON URIBE, a/k/a “Polo” Life in prison Mandatory minimum: 10 years in prison
3 Narcotics conspiracy (Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms and more of cocaine.) ABNER ALVAREZ, SR.
ABNER ALVAREZ, JR.
Life in prison Mandatory minimum: 10 years in prison

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal prosecutors build case against alleged leaders of Yonkers’ Cliff Street Gangsters

April 11, 2012

lohud.com on April 10, 2012 released the following:

“Written by
ERIK SHILLING

Nine reputed members of the Cliff Street Gangsters have admitted to conspiring to sell drugs and to violently keeping rivals at bay in the Nodine Hill section of Yonkers, as prosecutors continue to build their case against a chief enforcer of the group.

An indictment detailing some of the men’s activity was unsealed last August during a sweep of dozens of city gangsters. Since then guilty pleas for many of the reputed Cliff Street Gangsters members have trickled in. Prosecutors have now turned their focus to the gang’s leaders like 21-year-old Preston “Peanut” Hardy, who, as top gang enforcer, is accused of committing multiple shootings against rival gangs, authorities said. Few, if any, of the men connected to the Cliff Street Gangsters graduated from high school, but now seven — the youngest of whom is 18 — face up to life in prison when they are sentenced in U.S. District Court in White Plains later this year.

The latest guilty plea was Monday, when 26-year-old Gene “J-Biz” Thomas, pleaded guilty to two counts of drug charges. He faces up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced July 9.

At their plea hearings, some of the men spoke plainly of gang life.

“During the conspiracy, there was a time that I carried guns to protect the money I made,” Miguel “Corleone” Marquez, 26, said in January.

Another reputed gangster, Brandon “Big Boy” Williams, implied in his plea hearing that guns were a necessary part of the trade.

“At times, they would be threatening me so I one time had a gun and displayed it to one of these guys,” Williams said March 26, referring to rival gang members. Neither Williams nor Marquez completed high school. Both pleaded guilty pleaded guilty to drug and firearms charges, including conspiring to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana. They face up to life in prison at sentencing.

Prosecutors have said that Cliff Street Gangsters, known commonly as the CSG, operated for at least six years selling crack, marijuana, and other drugs and threatening rivals who encroached on their turf with guns that were stashed in secret locations known only to the gang’s members.

Other stashes, for the drugs themselves — like crack, which was packed in bags known as “twists” —were in members’ mouths, underwear and other locations, prosecutors said, including nearby mailboxes.

Competition for buyers of the twists led to numerous violent clashes with nearby gangs, including two based in the Schlobohm Housing Project, the Strip Boys and the Grimy M————, or GMF, according to prosecutors. A fourth gang, the Nodine Hill-based Elm Street Wolves, was CSG’s ally in many of the clashes, which went on for years and included a number of beatings and shootings.

“We went after the biggest folks we could find,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said last August, before another law enforcement official estimated that around 20 gangs operated in Yonkers.

Reputed Cliff Street Gangster Joshua Jenkins, who pleaded guilty March 29 to conspiracy and firearms charges, said that CSG moved more than 220 pounds of marijuana between 2005 and 2011. Among other things, Jenkins was accused of driving other gun-toting gang members around in his mother’s car.

“When I was doing all this, I knew that I was wrong,” Jenkins told Judge Cathy Seibel at his plea hearing, according to court records.

Some of the reputed gangsters who pleaded guilty included a few who admitted to having drug abuse problems themselves.

“I smoked weed, and I popped pills, and I drink,” said Michael “Mike-Mike” Glover, 21, adding that he spent time in treatment in 2008. Glover faces up a minimum 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to drug and firearms charges March 29.

He admitted then that he conspired to deal drugs from 2005 until his arrest in June 2011.

“Until I got caught,” he said.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment on trial strategy or whether the cases against three men who haven’t pleaded guilty — James “Tone” Glover, Audai “Buck” Howard, and Preston Hardy — were in negotiations with prosecutors.

But David Gordon, the lawyer for Hardy, said that he expected the case to go to trial. No dates have been set, but jury selection in the case could start later this month.

All the defendants remained in prison without bail Tuesday.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Five Alleged Members of the Bonanno Crime Family Arrested for Racketeering and Related Charges

January 30, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 27, 2012 released the following:

Defendants Include One Current and Two Former Members of the Bonanno Crime Family Administration

A 14-count superseding indictment was unsealed this morning in Brooklyn federal court charging five members of the Bonanno organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Bonanno family”) variously with racketeering, extortion, illegal gambling, and conspiring to distribute marijuana. An associate of the Gambino organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Gambino family”) was also charged with loansharking.[1] The defendants were arrested earlier today in New York and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The case has been assigned to United States Chief District Court Judge Carol B. Amon.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Wilbert L. Plummer, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Division; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

As alleged in the indictment and a detention memorandum filed by the government today, defendant Vincent Badalamenti, also known as “Vinny TV,” is a made member of the Bonanno family and a current member of the family’s administration, who until his arrest, was the highest ranking member of the Bonanno family at liberty. Defendants Anthony Graziano, also known as “TG,” and Nicholas Santora, also known as “Nicky Mouth,” are captains in the Bonanno family and former members of the Bonanno family administration. Defendant Vito Balsamo is an acting captain in the Bonanno family, and defendant Anthony Calabrese is a soldier in the Bonanno family. The indictment is the result of a multi-year joint investigation by the DEA and FBI that utilized a variety of techniques to gather evidence, such as consensual recordings of the defendants discussing their charged crimes, cooperating witnesses who were formerly members and associates of organized crime, and surveillance. The evidence revealed a pattern of violence and intimidation employed by the defendants to further their enterprise’s economic interests, including Badalamenti allegedly directing the hostile takeover of a bar located on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, as a result of its owner’s failure to repay a debt owed to Badalamenti.

The charges in the indictment also demonstrate the recidivist nature of organized crime defendants. For example, as detailed in the government’s detention memorandum, Santora allegedly participated in his charged crimes following his prior conviction and incarceration, and while released on supervised release, and Graziano allegedly committed his charged crimes within weeks of being released to a federal halfway house. During one consensual recording, a cooperating witness (“CW”) told Graziano that during Graziano’s most recent prison term, the CW was sent to collect money from one of Graziano’s loanshark victims who “was crying hysterical.” The CW and Graziano also discussed how the CW was sent on multiple occasions to collect money from the same victim by a member of the Bonanno family’s ruling panel, to which Graziano responded, “Yeah, well, he was trying to collect my money.” On another occasion, Graziano allegedly directed the CW to meet a second extortion victim and “open him up.”

The charges and arrests announced today are the latest in an ongoing investigation that has resulted in the prosecution of more than 175 members and associates of the Bonanno family in the Eastern District of New York. Since March 2002, more than 10 Bonanno family bosses, acting bosses and administration members have been convicted in this district on racketeering and racketeering-related charges.

“Members of organized crime continue to exploit their victims the old-fashioned way—through violence, threats, and intimidation. Learning nothing from their incarceration, two of the defendants allegedly sought to regain their money and influence on the street while still under federal supervision. But because they learned nothing, they find themselves back in custody again, along with their co-defendants,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “As law enforcement has so successfully done before, we will employ our own time-tested techniques to bring them to justice to account for their crimes. We will not rest in this pursuit until the Bonanno crime family and La Cosa Nostra have been completely dismantled.”

DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Plummer stated, “These arrests prove that justice comes to those who have abused the system. The five defendants arrested with RICO charges will face the consequences of their alleged illegal actions in the court of law. The New York Drug Enforcement Task Force worked diligently with the United States Attorney’s Office in order to keep our city and state crime free.” Mr. Plummer thanked the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force which comprises agents and officers of the DEA, New York State Police and the New York City Police Department for their hard work on this investigation.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk stated, “Today’s charges confirm that La Cosa Nostra families continue to engage in the bedrock money-making activities like extortion and loansharking, and are not shy about resorting to violence as a method. As long as mobsters continue their predatory ways, the FBI will continue to target the mob.”

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “This case demonstrates that the FBI, DEA, and NYPD in partnership with federal prosecutors, are relentless and will continue to dismantle organized crime and protect the public from its insidious effects.”

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole M. Argentieri and Stephen E. Frank.

The Defendants:

VINCENT BADALAMENTI Age: 53

VITO BALSAMO Age: 55

ANTHONY CALABRESE Age: 44

ANTHONY GRAZIANO Age: 71

JAMES LAFORTE Age: 35

NICHOLAS SANTORA Age: 69

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.