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Leader And Three Members And Associates Of The Trinitarios Gang Plead Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Crimes Including Racketeering, Narcotics Trafficking, And Firearms Offenses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday May 24, 2012

Trinitarios Member Also Pleads Guilty to Murder Charge Related to 2006 Killing

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that JONATHAN FELIZ, the leader of the Manhattan branch of the “Trinitarios,” a violent street and prison gang, and LOUINSKY MINIER, RUDY SANTANA, and ALBERTO MONTILLA, all of whom are members or associates of the Trinitarios, pled guilty to crimes including racketeering, narcotics trafficking, and firearms offenses.  MINIER also pled guilty to causing the death of rival gang member, Roy Abreu, on November 23, 2006.  The four defendants were charged along with 39 others in the Southern District of New York in March 2009 and June 2010.  FELIZ and SANTANA pled guilty today before United States District Judge George B. Daniels.  MINIER and MONTILLA pled guilty on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, before Judge Daniels.

Manhattan United States Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “For nearly a decade, this violent street and prison gang wrought havoc in parts of upper Manhattan, infesting the neighborhood with drugs and violence – extracting revenge against its rivals, sometimes with deadly force.  Today’s four guilty pleas bring us one step closer to dismantling this criminal organization and imprisoning one of its leaders, and three of the gang’s followers for a very long time.”

According to the Indictment, the Informations, and other documents filed in the case, as well as statements made during the plea proceedings:

FELIZ was the leader of the Trinitarios gang in Manhattan.  MINIER, SANTANA, and MONTILLA were members and associates of the Trinitarios gang who committed crimes on its behalf.  The Trinitarios gang worked with other associates (collectively defined in charging documents as the “Washington Heights Marijuana Organization” or the “WHMO”) to control illegal drug trafficking – particularly, the trafficking of marijuana – on several blocks in the Washington Heights section of the Bronx.  In addition to distributing and selling marijuana and narcotics, members and associates of the WHMO committed, conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence, including murder, to protect and expand their criminal operations.  They targeted rival narcotics traffickers, competitors, and individuals who stole drug proceeds from the enterprise.  As a part of this enterprise, MINIER shot and killed Abreu in November 2006, and members and associates of the WHMO conspired and attempted to kill at least two other people.

*                *                  *

As a result of these criminal activities, the four defendants have pled guilty as follows:

JONATHAN FELIZ

FELIZ pled guilty to one count of using, carrying, and possessing a firearm in connection with a controlled substance offense, and one count of using, carrying, and possessing firearms which were discharged in connection with a racketeering enterprise.  As a part of his plea, FELIZ admitted to his participation in a racketeering enterprise and, in particular, to his participation in: (1) a conspiracy to murder and attempted murders of two different individuals; and (2) a narcotics-distribution conspiracy.   As a result, FELIZ faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

LOUINSKY MINIER

MINIER pled guilty to one count of participating in a racketeering enterprise and one count of causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm.  As part of his plea, MINIER stipulated that he participated in: (1) the murder of Abreu; (2) a conspiracy to murder and two attempted murders of an individual; and (3) a narcotics-distribution conspiracy.  As a result, MINIER faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

RUDY SANTANA

SANTANA pled guilty to one count of participating in a racketeering enterprise and one count of a narcotics-distribution conspiracy.  As part of his plea, SANTANA stipulated that he participated in: (1) a conspiracy to murder and attempted murder of an individual; and (2) a narcotics-distribution conspiracy.  As a result, SANTANA faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

ALBERTO MONTILLA

MONTILLA pled guilty to one count of participating in a racketeering enterprise and one count of a narcotics-distribution conspiracy.  As part of his plea, MONTILLA stipulated that he participated in: (1) a conspiracy to murder and two attempted murders of an individual; and (2) a narcotics-distribution conspiracy.  As a result, SANTANA faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

*                *                  *

Mr. Bharara praised the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York City Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  Mr. Bharara also noted that the investigation is continuing. 

The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nola B. Heller and Michael D. Maimin are in charge of the prosecution.

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