NOV 18 (BROOKLYN, N.Y.) - Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Derrick Diaz, the former leader of a crew of robbers who targeted innocent civilians in their homes, was sentenced to 20 years in prison following his February 10, 2012, guilty plea to Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy. The sentence also included a term of supervised release of 3 years and an order that Diaz make restitution payments in the amount of $296,300 to his victims.
The sentence was announced by Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division and Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Crowell stated, “Nearly four years ago, the DEA and the NYPD tracked down and arrested this ruthless criminal, along with four of his gang members, who terrorized residents in and around the 61st Precinct in Brooklyn, NY. This organization was violent and a community’s worst nightmare, to include breaking into occupied homes and forcibly restraining children during robberies. This crew stole valuables worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with no concern for the children they terrorized. As part of this joint investigation, additional victims were identified resulting in dozens of home invasions linked to this armed robbery crew.” Mr. Crowell commended the men and women of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the DEA, the New York City Police Department and the Office of the Kings County District Attorney for their tenacious work.
“As the leader of a vicious crew of robbers, Derrick Diaz violated the sanctity of the homes of innocent residents of Brooklyn and terrorized his victims with guns and knives,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Today, his life as a career criminal has earned him a home in federal prison for the next 20 years of his life.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the DEA, and thanked the New York City Police Department and the Office of the Kings County District Attorney for their assistance.
Over the course of several robberies, Diaz and members of his crew broke into Brooklyn homes armed with, among other weapons, firearms and knives. They threatened their victims, including senior citizens and children, at gunpoint and knifepoint, pistol whipped victims, stabbed one victim, and bound and gagged multiple victims.
From the age of 16, Diaz has never gone longer than three years between arrests, other than time when he was already in custody of law enforcement. He has been convicted of burglary or related crimes five times, narcotics crimes twice, and various other offenses. Of Diaz’s burglary convictions, three involved his breaking into, or attempting to break into, a private residence. Today’s sentence was the culmination of Diaz’s first conviction in federal court.
Four members of the Diaz crew previously were convicted of federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York.
The sentencing proceedings were held before United States District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin D. Lerer.
Roselle Park, New Jersey
EDNY Docket No. 10-CR-277 (S-4) (KAM)