News and Press Releases

Eight Miami Men Charged in Drug Trafficking Conspiracy and Distribution Charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2014
Indictment Stems from USAO’s Liberty City/Little Haiti
Violence Reduction Partnership

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CID), Miami Field Office, announce the return of an indictment charging eight defendants with participating in a narcotics-trafficking conspiracy, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, as well as charging several defendants individually with associated firearms offenses, including possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(i), and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(e).

The defendants charged are: Espere Desmond Pierre, 32; Markentz Blanc, 32; Meluin Jermaine Braynen, 19; Willis Maxi, 33; Wisvelt Voltaire, 32; Alex Bermudez, 24; Sanders Bermudez, 22; and Kervens Lalanne, 22, all of Miami.

According to the indictment, the defendants participated in the large-scale distribution of crack cocaine through multiple retail sale locations operated by the conspirators in the Little Haiti area of Miami.

In addition, Pierre and Blanc also conspired to use compromised personal identifying information to file numerous false and fraudulent tax returns in order to claim tax refunds to which they were not entitled. The defendants possessed the identity information (including names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers) of over 1,000 persons. Pierre and Blanc were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349; and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). Blanc was additionally charged with possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(3).

This case is, in large part, the result of the Violence Reduction Partnership, launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Through this Partnership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its federal and local law enforcement allies have sought to dismantle the most violent criminal networks in various neighborhoods, while simultaneously working with community leaders and concerned citizens to mentor at-risk youths, provide jobs and job training to young families, and help probationers and parolees successfully re-enter society.

Mr. Ferrer thanked FBI, ATF, IRS-CI, the MDPD, and the City of Miami Police Department for their work on the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth M. Schlessinger.

An indictment is only an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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