BROOKLYN, NY. - On November 9, 2011, in federal court in Brooklyn, Nelson Nolasco pleaded guilty to Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, and the use of a firearm in connection with his participation in multiple armed robberies of narcotics traffickers in the New York City metropolitan area and elsewhere. The guilty plea came after three days of trial before United States District Judge Sandra L. Townes. When sentenced, Nolasco faces a minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Nolasco was extradited from Spain in 2010 to face the charges in this case.
The conviction was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Wilbert L. Plummer.
Nolasco participated in a violent robbery crew responsible for more than 100 armed robberies of narcotics traffickers who stole more than 250 kilograms of cocaine and $1 million in drug proceeds. Trial testimony revealed that during one robbery in the Bronx, Nolasco and his robbery crew left drug traffickers handcuffed inside a heroin den while the crew members fled just before the police arrived. During a separate robbery, Nolasco shot two drug traffickers. The crew used real and replica police badges and falsified search warrants to stage the searches and seizures of narcotics traffickers. One of the crew members, Emmanuel Tavarez, a police officer with the New York City Police Department, pleaded guilty to these same charges in April 2011. Tavarez used his status as a police officer to obtain NYPD raid jackets and other NYPD paraphernalia and equipment, including a duplicate copy of his own badge, for the crew so that they would appear to be authentic police officers.
In announcing the guilty plea, Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force which is comprised of DEA Special Agents, NYPD Detectives and NYSP Investigators; and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – the agencies responsible for leading the government’s investigation – and thanked the Philadelphia Police Department for their assistance.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen Meyer, Sylvia Shweder and Alexander Solomon.
The Defendant: NELSON NOLASCO, (aka “Angel Soto Caban” and “Menor”), Age: 40