Member Of Violent Home Invasion Robbery Crew Sentenced To 420 Months For Conspiring To Commit Drug Robberies, Conspiring To Distribute Cocaine And Heroin, And Illegally Using A Firearm
One Victim Was Murdered, and Two Victims Were Shot in the Abdomen
Nelson Nolasco was sentenced today to 420 months in prison by United States District Judge I. Leo Glasser at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. In the middle of his jury trial held in November 2011, Nolasco pleaded guilty to robbery conspiracy, cocaine trafficking conspiracy, and firearm charges.
The sentence was 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.
Nolasco is the last of 25 defendants to be sentenced in this prosecution of a violent robbery crew that targeted drug traffickers. During some of these robberies, members of the robbery crew posed as law enforcement officers, staged fake arrests of narcotics traffickers, and then forcibly seized the traffickers’ drugs and drug proceeds. Members of the robbery crew often restrained their victims with handcuffs, rope, or duct tape. The crew members often brandished firearms and physically assaulted victims. Crew members sold the stolen drugs and divided the proceeds among themselves. To date, the prosecution has resulted in the conviction of two NYPD officers and one NYPD auxiliary officer, all of whom participated in multiple drug robberies.
Nolasco was a particularly violent member of the robbery crew who participated in at least 15 robberies and attempted robberies, during which he and his co-conspirators robbed narcotics traffickers of at least 118 kilograms of cocaine and $150,400 in U.S. currency.
During one such robbery in upper Manhattan in 2005, Nolasco shot and killed a narcotics trafficker who refused to reveal the location of drugs. Nolasco and his co-conspirator later recovered two kilograms of cocaine from the victim’s apartment. During an attempted robbery of a residence in the Bronx in 2005, Nolasco and his co-conspirators broke down the rear door with a sledgehammer, entered the residence, and handcuffed four occupants of the house. Nolasco then personally threatened these victims at gunpoint. During a robbery in Queens in 2006, Nolasco and his co-conspirators, impersonating police officers, abducted a drug trafficker and brought him to his stash house. While forcing the drug trafficker into the stash house, the crew encountered two additional drug traffickers. Nolasco jumped on one of the drug traffickers and placed a gun to his head until he revealed the location of drugs at the stash house.
In another incident in June 2006, Nolasco attempted to murder two drug traffickers in the Bronx. A few weeks earlier, the drug traffickers had provided Nolasco with 10 kilograms of cocaine to sell. When the drug traffickers met with Nolasco to collect the narcotics proceeds, Nolasco shot them rather than pay them the money from the sale. After shooting both drug traffickers in the abdomen, Nolasco tried to complete the murder with shots to each victim’s head but his gun jammed twice. Both drug traffickers survived the shooting.
Mr. Capers extended his grateful appreciation to the DEA New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprising agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department, and New York State Police; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander Solomon, Douglas M. Pravda, and Sylvia S. Shweder.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 08-CR-242