News and Press Releases

Brooklyn Drug Dealer Sentenced to Life in Prison for Narcotics Trafficking and Two Murders

September 4, 2008

GILBERTO CARABALLO, a Brooklyn-based crack and powder cocaine trafficker who ran a lucrative drug trafficking enterprise from the late 1980s until his arrest in December 2001, was sentenced today to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for his February 26, 2008, conviction after trial on charges of murder-for-hire, murder-for-hire conspiracy, murder in furtherance of narcotics trafficking, narcotics trafficking, and use and possession of firearms. Following capital sentencing proceedings that began on March 10, 2008, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict regarding the death penalty.

The sentencing proceeding was held before before United States Chief District Judge Raymond J. Dearie at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York.

To date, CARABALLO and nine associates have been convicted of a range of federal charges, including murder-for-hire, murder in furtherance of narcotics trafficking, narcotics trafficking, firearms offenses, and conspiracy. CARABALLO’s first murder victim was Edward Cortes, whom CARABALLO ordered shot to death in February 1992. Cortes had defected from CARABALLO’s crack cocaine distribution operation and opened a rival crack business on 40th Street and 8th Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, directly across the street from CARABALLO’s long-time distribution location.

Eight years later, in December 2000, CARABALLO hired two drug-dealing associates, Martin Aguilar and Jeffrey Taylor, to murder Jose Fernandez, because CARABALLO was having an affair with Fernandez’s longtime girlfriend, Quincie Martinez. Approximately one year later, New York City Police Department Detectives discovered Fernandez’s badly decomposed body in a sewer drain located in Greenwood Cemetery in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Aguilar, Taylor, and Martinez have already been found guilty of the Fernandez murder.

Evidence at trial, including the testimony of the defendant’s brother, detailed CARABALLO’s decade-long rise through the ranks, from a street-level drug dealer to one of the leading narcotics traffickers in south Brooklyn. CARABALLO used his drug profits to finance a lifestyle that included expensive cars and multiple residences, as well as the murders of Edward Cortes and Jose Fernandez, his professional and personal rivals.

“GILBERTO CARABALLO brought murder, mayhem, and narcotics to the streets of one of our communities,” stated United States Attorney Benton J. Campbell. “He will now pay for his crimes with the remainder of his life in prison.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mark J. Mershon stated, “This case is the embodiment of why the FBI has on-going commitment to narcotics enforcement. Drug-selling organizations often resort to violence to protect turf and intimidate or eliminate competition. The lethal combination of drugs, guns, and violence demands that we maintain our efforts.”

NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly stated, “Over the decades, drugs and guns have been responsible for thousands of murders in New York. A life sentence for one of the more notorious traffickers is welcome, indeed. It’s also a tribute to the police officers, agents, and prosecutors who helped put him behind bars.”

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David Bitkower, Robert Capers, and Tanisha Simon.

The Defendant:

GILBERTO CARABALLO, also known as “Carlos Caraballo” and “Anthony Rodriguez”
Age: 35

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