Three New Jersey Men Indicted for a Violent Kidnapping and Extortion Attempt in Astoria, Queens
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, a superseding indictment was unsealed charging Aasim Boone, Jarrett Bruce and Lesly Valentin with one count of kidnapping conspiracy and Valentin with one count of transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort. The charged crimes arise from the December 2022 abduction and attack on a victim from the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, New York. Valentin was previously arrested and charged in the underlying indictment with transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort and is currently in custody. Boone was arrested yesterday, and Bruce was arrested today. Both will be arraigned on the superseding indictment this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy. Valentin was previously arrested and is being held in custody pending trial. Valentin will be arraigned on the superseding indictment at a later date.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrests and charges.
“As alleged, the crimes in this case are very disturbing. The defendants targeted an unsuspecting victim, abducted him outside of his home and subjected him to unimaginable cruelty—all in their efforts for financial gain,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “My office will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the victim here receives justice and that our community is safe from these senseless acts of violence.”
Mr. Peace thanked the Joint Violent Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of agents from the FBI and detectives from the NYPD, for their assistance with the investigation.
“A victim subjected to kidnapping, brutal beatings, inhumane torture, and cash demands – this not a plot from a movie – these three defendants allegedly conspired and carried out these despicable acts on their target. The alleged actions of Boone, Bruce, and Valentin are disturbing and will not be tolerated. FBI New York is determined to ensure brazen individuals willing to use inconceivable violence for financial gain are brought to justice,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Smith.
As set forth in court filings, Boone, Bruce and Valentin conspired to kidnap the victim on December 9, 2022. The victim was seized from outside of his apartment complex in Astoria. After forcing the victim at gunpoint into a vehicle, the assailants drove the victim to New Jersey, subjected him to escalating forms of torture, and held him for nearly five hours. Among other things, the assailants beat the victim with a gun, poured bleach on him, burned his back and legs with a blowtoch, and also sliced the victim’s ear with a knife. The victim was ultimately released on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. A few days after the kidnapping, one of the defendants—Valentin—sent text messages to the victim, threatening further harm to him and his family if he failed to pay the defendants $150,000 in cash and 50 lbs. of marijuana.
All three defendants have extensive criminal histories, and are believed to have participated in a series of residential burglaries committed by a violent street gang operating out of New Jersey. Valentin had also previously pled guilty in New Jersey state court to aggravated assault in connection with a prior kidnapping.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of kidnapping conspiracy, the defendants face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States
JARRETT BRUCE (also known as “Inf,” “Infinite” and “Infamous”)
Englewood, New Jersey
Asbury Park, New Jersey
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 23-CR-292 (S-1) (RPK)
Danielle Blustein Hass
U.S. Attorney's Office