Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 45 Defendants With Selling Crack Cocaine In The Bronx
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Raymond W. Kelly, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), today announced the unsealing of three Indictments charging a total of 45 defendants with engaging in the distribution of crack cocaine at various Bronx, New York, locations within the 40th Precinct. One defendant is also charged with possessing and brandishing a firearm in connection with the drug-trafficking. Twenty-two defendants were taken into custody today and last night, and were presented and arraigned in Manhattan federal court this afternoon. Three defendants were previously taken into custody, one of whom was transferred into federal custody from state custody. Twenty defendants remain at large. U.S. District Judges Loretta A. Preska, Alison J. Nathan, and J. Paul Oetken have been assigned to these cases.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Crack cocaine tears apart the fabric of any community by making the streets unsafe, fracturing families and leaving individuals addicted or even dead, and we are not going to stand by while that happens. The arrests of these defendants for allegedly trafficking in this poison are a significant step toward cleaning up the neighborhoods in which they operated. ”
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “New York City police officers and their federal partners won’t allow crack dealers to undermine the safety of the law-abiding public in the Bronx, or elsewhere. I commend the prosecutors and especially the undercover officers who put their lives at risk to stop illicit drug activity and stay committed to restoring some peace to New Yorkers.”
As alleged in the Indictments unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
United States v. Alex Martinez, et al. and United States v. Kareem Lanier, et al.
Between November 2011 and October 2012, the 40 defendants charged in these two Indictments conspired to sell crack cocaine at various locations in the Bronx including in the vicinity of two housing projects – the Patterson Houses and the Mott Haven Houses – and privately owned low income housing – the Maria Lopez Plaza apartments. During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants sold crack cocaine to undercover law enforcement officers. Certain defendants also steered the undercover officers to their co-conspirators when they did not have drugs to sell themselves. Their co-conspirators then sold crack cocaine to the undercover officers. Kareem Lanier is also charged with using and brandishing a firearm in connection with the conspiracy.
United States v. Juan Castillo, et al.
Similarly, between October 2011 and June 2012, JUAN CASTILLO, DEVON JOHNSON, REGGIE GOODWIN, ANTOINE ELMONE, and JAREL SABLE, engaged in a conspiracy to sell crack cocaine and marijuana at various locations in the Bronx including in the vicinity of a housing project – the Patterson Houses. During the course of the conspiracy, each of the defendants sold crack cocaine to undercover law enforcement officers. Certain defendants also steered the undercover officers to their co-conspirators when they did not have drugs to sell themselves. Their co-conspirators then sold crack cocaine to the undercover officers.
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The defendants in United States v. Alex Martinez, et al. and United States v. Kareem Lanier, et al. face maximum terms of 40 years in prison and mandatory minimum terms of five years in prison. LANIER faces a maximum term of life in prison and an additional mandatory minimum term of seven years in prison for using and brandishing a firearm in connection with the conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. The defendants in United States v. Castillo, et al. each face a maximum term of 20 years in prison.
A chart containing the names, ages and residence information of the defendants in the various charging instruments is attached.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD, and also thanked the United States Marshal Service and the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for their assistance.
These cases are being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Rahul Mukhi, Daniel Tehrani, Brendan Quigley, and Adam Fee are in charge of the prosecutions.
The charges contained in the Indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.