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Drug Robbery Crew Member Pleads Guilty to Armed Robbery Conspiracy and Narcotics Trafficking

November 10, 2011

Crew Netted More Than 250 Kilograms of Cocaine and $1 Million in Drug Proceeds in Over 100 Robberies

Yesterday, 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 minium 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.

Nolasco participated in a violent robbery crew responsible for more than 100 armed robberies of narcotics traffickers that 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 Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and the New York City Police Department – the agencies responsible for leading the government’s investigation – and thanked the New York State Police and 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:

(aka “Angel Soto Caban” and “Menor”)
Age: 40

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