Seventeen Peekskill, N.Y. Residents Charged In White Plains Federal Court With Narcotics And Firearms Offenses
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Eric Johansen, Chief of the Peekskill Police Department, and George N. Longworth, Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, today announced the unsealing of two separate Indictments and two Complaints charging 17 defendants with a series of crimes, including the distribution of narcotics and the use of firearms in Peekskill, New York. Fifteen of the defendants charged in the Indictments and one of the Complaints were arrested today or were previously taken into custody. Fourteen of those defendants were presented in White Plains federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa M. Smith. The 15th defendant, Kenyata Burnett, is in state custody, and is expected to appear in White Plains federal court next week. The two remaining defendants, Paul Lockett and Phillip Guzman, are still at large.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Even small towns like Peekskill are not immune from the narcotics trade and the violence with which it is inextricably linked. With today’s charges against these 17 defendants who were allegedly responsible for visiting this plague on the community, we are taking an important step forward in returning Peekskill to its law-abiding residents.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos stated: “Drug trafficking and the gun violence that inevitably comes with it are not only big-city problems. As this case and others have shown, these twin problems affect smaller cities and towns as well. The residents of all these communities have the right to safety and security in their homes, and we will continue to work to make that a reality.”
Peekskill Police Chief Eric Johansen stated: “These arrests send a clear message that drugs and violence are not tolerated anywhere in Peekskill. Our narcotics unit worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the Westchester County Police to break up this violent drug ring. Our department will continue to set a high standard of performance and excellence to protect all of our citizens and businesses now and in years to come.”
Westchester County Department of Public Safety Commissioner George N. Longworth stated: “The Department of Public Safety remains firmly committed to working with all federal and local law enforcement partners to combat drug dealing in Westchester County. The Peekskill community is safer today because of the outstanding work of all of the agencies involved in this investigation.”
The following allegations are based on the Indictments unsealed today in White Plains federal court:
LORENZO WAGNER, JR. was the effective leader of a drug trafficking organization (the “Organization”), whose members and associates have, since January 2008, sold crack cocaine and heroin in Peekskill, New York. Organization members worked together to ensure that all members profited from drug sales. For a period of time in 2011 and 2012, the Organization operated out of apartments in the Dunbar Heights housing complex in Peekskill. Organization members and associates used those apartments to cook crack cocaine and to package, store, and resell drugs. At other times, the Organization operated out of other locations in Peekskill. In order to secure the Organization’s control of portions of the Peekskill narcotics trade, WAGNER, JR. ordered multiple shootings against rivals. These shootings were carried out by the Organization’s enforcers, including associates of the Organization who were paid to commit acts of violence against rivals.
Eight of the Organization’s members and associates – WAGNER, JR., 29, PHILLIP GUZMAN, 28, JUAN URENA, 23, STEFANO DEMICHELI, 25, JAMES PATTERSON, 27, MARQUISE ROBERSON, 24, MYRON WAGNER, 19, and LORENZO WAGNER, SR., 48 –are charged with conspiring to distribute, and possessing with intent to distribute, crack cocaine and heroin from January 2008 to March 2013. WAGNER, JR. and PATTERSON are also charged with using, carrying, possessing, and discharging firearms during the narcotics conspiracy. GUZMAN is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Seven other Peekskill residents are named in a second Indictment that charges four individuals – LAMAR KINGWOOD, 34, JAMEL BAILEY, 33, MELISSA DABBS, 43, and ISAAC MALLORY, 33 – with conspiring to distribute, and possessing with intent to distribute, crack cocaine and heroin from January 2008 to March 2013, and three individuals –
TYRON BRICKHOUSE, 28, KENYATA BURNETT, 37, and RONALD CARTER, 47 – with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, crack cocaine from at least November 2010 to March 2013. Two other individuals – HAKIM ANDERSON, 33, and PAUL LOCKETT, 32 – were charged in separate Complaints with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, crack cocaine.
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The charges against each defendant and the corresponding maximum potential penalties are outlined in the charts attached to this press release.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, the Peekskill Police Department, and the Westchester County Department of Public Safety. He added that the investigation is continuing.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas Bloom, Ilan Graff, and Sarah Krissoff are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictments and Complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.