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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 26, 2018

Brooklyn Gang Member Sentenced to 10 Years’ Imprisonment for Firearms Offenses and Drug Trafficking

Defendant, a Member of Cypress Gangster Crips, Also Found by Court to Have Murdered a Gang Rival and Plotted to Poison an Elderly Woman for Complaining About a Debt

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Jason Soto, a member of the “Cypress Gangster Crips” street gang, was sentenced by United States District Judge I. Leo Glasser to 10 years’ imprisonment following his conviction at trial for selling a firearm to a convicted felon, unlawfully possessing a firearm and drug trafficking.  In January 2018, following an evidentiary hearing, the Court found that Soto had killed Shakim Rivera in February 2015, and also that Soto had intended to poison an elderly woman in April 2016.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence. 

 “With today’s sentence, Soto has been held to account for the myriad crimes he committed at the Cypress Hills Houses, including the murder of a gang rival,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will be relentless in protecting the residents of communities plagued by gang violence from criminals like the defendant who has demonstrated a callous disregard for human life.”

“It is truly astonishing to see how the deadly actions of a few impact a majority of members in a community,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “These gang members use threats and actual violence to sow fear, creating their own turf of criminal activity in a place where people just want be safe.  The FBI New York Metro Safe Streets Task Force won’t slow down or ease off our pursuit of these violent gangs.”

As proven at trial, in May 2016, Soto sold a .44 caliber Taurus Special revolver to a confidential informant whom Soto knew to be a convicted felon.  Two months earlier, Soto sold the same informant 28 bags of crack cocaine.  Soto, who has prior felony convictions for assault and robbery, committed the charged crimes while under investigation by the FBI and the NYPD, which conducted a long-term investigation into crime and violence plaguing the residents of the Cypress Hills Houses, a New York City Housing Authority complex in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. 

A court-authorized wiretap of Soto’s phone revealed evidence of other crimes, including Soto discussing the planning and commission of robberies, assaults and murders.

At a hearing held prior to sentencing, the government presented evidence that Soto lured Shakim Rivera to Canarsie where he shot him in the back of the head because he  believed Rivera was responsible for the murder of another member of the Cypress Gangsta Crips, Demetrius Graham, three days earlier.  The government also proved that Soto had discussed his intent to poison an elderly woman with narcotics because she asked his family about a $100 debt he owed.  Soto, in his words, said he was going to “put pain on some 80-year-old chick.”  Members of the FBI and the NYPD were able to prevent the planned attack. 

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Margaret E. Gandy, Andrey Spektor and David N. Gopstein are in charge of the prosecution. 

The Defendant:

 Jason Soto
Age:  29
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-298 (S-1) (ILG)

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Contact: 
John Marzulli Tyler Daniels United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated March 26, 2018