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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Leader of Queens-Based Methamphetamine Distribution Organization Arrested

Fourteen Defendants Previously Arrested and Arraigned on Related Drug Distribution, Conspiracy, Extortion and Illegal Gambling Charges

Earlier today, Anthony “Ant” Pineda was arrested on charges related to methamphetamine distribution in Queens, New York, and California.  Pineda was arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak and ordered detained pending trial.  Fourteen additional defendants were previously arrested and arraigned on four indictments unsealed last month in federal court in Brooklyn. 

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), James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), and Thomas Decker, Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), announced the indictments.

“Drug dealers are trying to turn New York into the next methamphetamine wasteland,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “The Eastern District will work tirelessly with our partners on long-term investigations such as this to prosecute those who poison our communities with this highly addictive and dangerous drug.”  Mr. Donoghue expressed his thanks to ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Postal Inspection Service for their assistance during the investigation.

“Using his illegal gambling business as a foundation, Pineda allegedly orchestrated an illicit methamphetamine enterprise,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Distributing on both a large scale and street level, Pineda and his co-defendants carelessly endangered our communities.  These individuals operated on opposite sides of the nation – but with the help of our fellow law enforcement agencies, today’s arrests show that expansiveness never inhibits justice.”

“The indictments show law enforcement’s resolve to arrest those involved in dealing drugs in our city,” said ERO Field Office Director Decker in New York.  “We will continue to assist our law enforcement partners in providing any information that will lead to an eventual criminal arrest.”

“The behavior outlined in these indictments, and the violence so often associated with such acts, will never be tolerated by the NYPD or any of our law enforcement partners,” stated NYPD Commissioner O'Neill.  “As we demonstrate time and again, we are patient and our collaborative forces have a long reach.  We will be relentless in removing these criminals from our streets, because New Yorkers expect and deserve nothing less than our very best efforts to not only keep them safe, but to ensure they feel safe too.”

According to the indictments, court documents and statements made in court, Anthony Pineda led a methamphetamine distribution organization from his illegal gambling parlors located in Flushing, Queens.  Pineda obtained large quantities of methamphetamine in California and transported the drugs to New York for wholesale and retail distribution.  His co-defendants include large-scale and street-level methamphetamine distributors, as well as Pineda’s partners in the illegal gambling operation. 

Pineda allegedly protected his illegal operations with threats and violence.  For example, in 2017, he threatened a competing gambling parlor owner with a gun and referred to a “high voltage cattle prod” that a co-conspirator could use to collect a debt.  When Pineda was arrested today at an apartment where he was staying, law enforcement officers recovered one pound of methamphetamine and approximately $27,000 in cash.

Pineda, Yunfeng Gao, Ting “Ting Ting” Li, Ivan Kaleda, Marco Rescino, Guanghua “Mao Mao” Shen, Jin Wang, Joung Hwa Yun, Lu “Chinese Ivan” Zhai and Nan Zhang are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and methamphetamine distribution.  Min Li and Steven Torres are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.  Davoud Haghighy is charged with methamphetamine distribution and firearms trafficking.  Si En Li is charged with operating an illegal gambling parlor.  Yuan Li is charged with extortion.  In addition, Pineda and Rescino are charged with money laundering conspiracy.

The charges in the indictments are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, the maximum sentences range from five years’ to life imprisonment.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Nadia E. Moore and Drew Rolle are in charge of the prosecution with assistance provided by Assistant United States Attorney Claire Kedeshian of the Office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit.

The Defendants:

ANTHONY PINEDA
Age:  36
Queens, New York/San Francisco, California

YUNFENG GAO
Age:  33
Queens, New York

IVAN KALEDA
Age:  28
Queens, New York

SI EN LI
Age:  45
Brooklyn, New York

TING LI
Age:  30
Queens, New York

YUAN LI
Age:  34
Queens, New York

MARCO RESCINO
Age:  22
San Francisco, California

GUANGHUA SHEN
Queens, New York
Age: 45

JIN WANG
Age:  33
Queens, New York

JOUNG HWA YUN
Age:  40
Queens, New York

LU ZHAI
Age:  30
Queens, New York

NAN ZHANG
Age:  32
Queens, New York – E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-302 (MKB)

MIN LI
Age:  40
Queens, New York – E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-292 (MKB)

DAVOUD HAGHIGHY
Age:  33
Queens, New York – E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-301 (ILG)

STEVEN TORRES
Age:  28
Queens, New York – E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-300 (MKB)

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Contact: 
John Marzulli Tyler Daniels United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated July 19, 2018