Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Seven Members And Associates Of Bronx Narcotics Organization With Drug Trafficking And Firearms Offenses
Defendants Charged with Heroin and Crack Cocaine Distribution Conspiracies and Firearms Possession
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Joseph Anarumo, Jr., the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging seven members and associates of a drug trafficking organization (the “Organization”) that operated in the Bronx with narcotics trafficking. Six of the defendants are also charged with possessing, brandishing, and discharging firearms in connection with their drug trafficking.
One of the defendants charged, ADONY NINA, was originally arrested by ATF agents in April 2012 for possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and has been in federal custody since that time. Three additional defendants, CANDIDO ANTOMATTEI, JORGE CRUZ, and TIARA FELIX, were arrested last night. Two additional defendants, STEPHANIE MESA and JASON MORALES, who are already in custody on state charges, will be transferred to federal custody tomorrow. One defendant, EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ, remains at large. The three defendants arrested last night are expected to be presented and arraigned today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas. The case has been assigned to U. S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “With today’s takedown in the Bronx, we are once again reminded of the connection between narcotics trafficking, guns and violence. These defendants allegedly conspired to blanket a section of the Bronx with heroin and crack cocaine, using guns as their calling cards. Today’s arrests represent the latest coordinated work of law enforcement to clean the drug trade and the people who peddle drugs out of our neighborhoods and to make those communities safe for their residents.”
ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Joseph Anarumo, Jr. said: “This investigation is extremely vital not only because it has resulted in the arrests of violent individuals known to be using firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking, but also because it exemplifies inter-agency cooperation at its best. By combining the investigative resources and techniques of the NYPD and ATF, an organized and defined heroin and crack trafficking operation has been effectively dismantled. The essence of law enforcement is realized when we can rid the streets of criminals and also cause the initiation of additional investigations into even more serious offenders.”
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “Police investigated the source of New Year’s Day gunfire and discovered alleged crack cocaine and heroin trafficking, much of it occurring within feet of a school and playground. Law-abiding New Yorkers in nearby public housing and elsewhere in the Bronx bore the brunt of the subjects’ drug dealing and gun violence - until NYPD detectives, their ATF partners, and Federal prosecutors stepped in. I commend their dedication to public safety, and congratulate them on the arrests in this case.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, other publicly filed documents, and statements made in court earlier today:
From 2008 through 2012, the Organization’s members sold crack cocaine and heroin to street level drug customers, and supplied those drugs to other Bronx drug dealers, primarily in the vicinity of Longwood Avenue and Beck and Kelly Streets in the Bronx.
For example, in October 2011, JORGE CRUZ sold a quantity of crack cocaine to an NYPD undercover officer. And in March 2010, JASON MORALES was in possession of four firearms, at least one of which was brandished and discharged in connection with a drug trafficking crime.
The federal investigation into the Organization’s narcotics trafficking began in concert with the arrest of ADONY NINA by NYPD officers after he allegedly fired a handgun into the air early on the morning of January 1, 2012 in the Bronx. NINA is a leading member of the Organization.
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All of the defendants are charged with one count of conspiring to distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute, crack cocaine and heroin, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a potential maximum sentence of life in prison. In addition, six of the defendants are charged with possessing firearms, which were brandished and discharged, in connection with their drug trafficking, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. A chart containing the names, ages, residences, and charges for the defendants is attached.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the ATF, and added that the investigation is continuing.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Noble and Laurie Korenbaum are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.