Four Street Gang Members Convicted for Drug Conspiracy, Firearm and Violent Crime Charges
The leader and three other members of Big Money Team (BMT), a violent street gang that operates in the Little Havana and Allapattah neighborhoods of Miami, Florida, have been convicted of drug conspiracy, firearm and violent crime charges following a one month long trial.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, and Rodolfo Llanes, Chief, City of Miami Police Department (MPD), made the announcement.
Defendants Maurin Chacon a/k/a “Tiny,” a/k/a “Peludo,” a/k/a “Yung Patron,” 27, Christopher Altamirano a.k.a “Tango,” a.k.a “Peter Baitz,” 22, Rodolfo Portela a.k.a “Papo L. Desperado,” 29, and James Dixon a.k.a “Smoke,” 20, each of Miami, Florida, were convicted of conspiracy to possess controlled substances with intent to distribute. Additionally, Chacon, Altamirano and Portela were convicted of possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking or violent crime. Chacon and Portela were also convicted of firearm and ammunition possession by convicted felons. Additionally, Altamirno was also convicted of the commission of violent crime in aid of racketeering, in relation to a November 20, 2013 armed robbery. The charges resulted from a second superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury on October 3, 2014, following an investigation that began in March of 2013.
During the trial, a civilian witness testified that the BMT “invaded” and “took over” a neighborhood in Little Havana. According to the civilian witness, BMT members robbed and sold narcotics on a daily basis. Through cooperating defendant testimony, the jury heard that members of the BMT gained status within the gang through the commission of violent acts. The trial evidence also included jailhouse phone calls which captured BMT members discussing the operation of their narcotics and prostitution activities, thwarting law enforcement’s investigation of the group, the recovery of a firearm used during a robbery to prevent law enforcement seizure, and the brutal assault of a witness who cooperated with authorities.
Further, the government introduced evidence of BMT’s commitment to criminal activity and long term criminal associations. For example, the government introduced a photograph that Chacon, the leader of the organization, posted on a social media site. The photograph was of Chacon posing in front of the state criminal courthouse and had the underlying caption in which Chacon compared himself to the former leader of the Gambino Crime family, John Gotti. Additional trial evidence included undercover recordings of gang members distributing narcotics and conducting a gun sale.
“The conviction of four violent members of the street gang ‘Big Money Team,’ including the gang’s leader, is a victory for the residents of Little Havana and Allapattah. These gang members used violence to intimidate, harass and oppress our community’s citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “We will continue to partner with our federal and local law enforcement partners to bring to justice those whose violent criminal conduct and brazen threats paralyze neighborhoods with fear.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge Hugo Barrera stated, “Today’s conviction demonstrates law enforcement’s commitment to disrupt violent criminals that are affecting the quality of life of our law abiding citizens. This illustrates the collaborative teamwork of federal, state and local law enforcement working together to combat violent crime and make our communities safer.”
Miami Police Department Chief of Police Rodolfo Llanes added, “These convictions are a testament to what we can achieve in our efforts to reduce violent crimes, as well as, the surge of dangerous narcotics and illegal weapons when we partner with the community and other law enforcement agencies at all levels, local, state and federal. Together we will make Miami a safer place to live, work, play and visit.”
The investigation identified the convicted gang members, including Chacon, the group’s leader, and their associates with participation in armed street-level drug trafficking. Prior to the jury verdict, the following defendants pled guilty to participating in the gang’s drug trafficking conspiracy:
Dayaan Zequera a.k.a “Dsbf BMT Kid,” 24,
Angel Martinez a.k.a “Telly” a.k.a “Tboy,” 22,
Miguel Rodriguez a.k.a “Fat Boy,” a.k.a “Barba,” 19,
Kevin Diaz, 19,
Nadim Guzman, 21,
Raymond Moore a/k/a “Flaco,” a/k/a “Dinero Banks,” a.k.a “Young Gunna,” 22,
Luis Salas a/k/a “Chico Black,” 22,
Christian Ramirez a.k.a “Joker”, 31,
Carlos Tinoco a/k/a “C-Lo,” 22,
Steven Castro a/k/a “YM Stevo,” 23,
Fernando Roberto Darce a/k/a “Bonesz”, 20, and
Mario Balboa, 29, all of Miami.
The defendants face minimum mandatory terms from 10 years to life in prison, with maximum statutory terms varying from 20 years to life in prison for the aforementioned charges.
On June 29, 2015 the following defendants face trial on charges relating to the investigation:
Alioth Salas, a/k/a “Ali,” 27,
Joseph Thompson a/k/a “Joe,” 29,
Dwight Forte, 22, and
Joel Diaz a/k/a “Borie,” a/k/a “El Paisa,” and a/k/a “Buom Clock,” 25.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ATF and MPD’s Gang Intelligence Detail through their participation in the Miami-Dade County Multi-Agency Gang Task Force. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Robbery Bureau and Street Gang Section, the MPD’s Little Havana Problem Solving Team, the MPD’s Robbery Unit, the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department’s Security Threat Group Unit and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Gang Strike Force. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Ignacio J. Vàzquez, Jr. and Ilham Hosseini.