Alleged Member Of Violent Robbery Crew Charged With Firearm-Related Murder
Defendant and Co-Conspirators Allegedly Kidnapped, Tortured, and Murdered Victim for Drugs and Drug Proceeds
Earlier today, Nestor Marcelino Delacruz Santana (Delacruz) was arraigned on an indictment before United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in Brooklyn federal court. Delacruz is charged with the 2003 firearm-related homicide of Francisco De Orbe.
The charges were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division. The investigation was led by the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force comprising agents and officers from the DEA, New York City Police Department, and the New York State Police.
As detailed in the indictment and other court filings by the government, Delacruz was an associate of a violent New York-based robbery crew that operated in Philadelphia and elsewhere. The crew targeted drug dealers who had access to large sums of narcotics and drug proceeds. Crew members would kidnap their intended victims and torture them until they disclosed the location of their drugs and cash, which the crew then stole.
On or about May 9, 2003, in Frankford, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, Delacruz and other crew members kidnapped and tortured De Orbe until he revealed the location of his drugs and cash. The crew then stole several thousand dollars in cash and more than a kilogram of cocaine from De Orbe.
Having predetermined that De Orbe would be killed after he was robbed, at Delacruz’s direction one of his co-conspirators injected De Orbe with an overdose of heroin. When that failed to kill De Orbe, he was shot in the neck, and his body was discarded.
“As charged in the indictment, Delacruz was a member of a vicious robbery crew that hunted down and murdered its victims for drugs and money,” stated United States Attorney Capers. “Law enforcement pursued him for nearly a decade, demonstrating our commitment to ridding the streets of our communities from the scourge of drug trafficking and its related violence.”
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Hunt stated, “A little more than a kilogram of cocaine and thousands of dollars was the price Delacruz put on his victim’s head. This historical investigation brought a brutal killer to justice after 13 years on the lam. I commend the men and women of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force for their dutiful commitment to this investigation.”
“The NYPD will continue to investigate and arrest those who carry out this type of brazen violence that threatens the public safety,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Bratton. “With the hard work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Drug Enforcement Task Force, we will continue to root out organized drug trafficking and the inevitable violence that follows.”
NYSP Superintendent Beach stated, “The work of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and our partners has resulted in a dangerous man being taken off the streets. This man and his associates are a prime example of the dangerous crimes that are associated with drug trafficking. State Police and our partners will continue to work together to rid our communities of these dangerous substances, and the violence that comes with them.”
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and Delacruz is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, or possibly the death penalty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Julia Nestor and Craig R. Heeren are in charge of the prosecution.
NESTOR MARCELINO DELACRUZ SANTANA
EDNY Docket No. 16-CR-337