28 Members Of Bronx Drug Trafficking Crew Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Distributing Heroin And Crack Cocaine
Ten Are Also Charged With Firearms Offenses
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), today announced charges against 28 members of the Briggs Avenue Organization, a criminal organization that controls narcotics distribution around the area of 194th Street and Briggs Avenue in the Bronx, New York, for conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine. The Indictment, which was unsealed today, also charges ten of the defendants with firearms offenses.
Of the 28 defendants named in the Indictment, 16 were taken into custody as part of a coordinated operation involving federal, state, and local law enforcement officers. Four of the remaining defendants are in state custody on other charges, two are in federal custody, and six are at large. The defendants who were taken into custody today were presented and arraigned in Manhattan federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox. U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin is assigned to the case.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Step-by-step and case-by-case, this Office, along with our law enforcement partners is doing everything within its power to eliminate the scourge of gangs along with the narcotics trafficking and violence that are tools of their trade. Today’s indictment of 28 members of this alleged criminal organization is the latest in our campaign to give the streets of the Southern District back to its residents.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said: “It is almost axiomatic that where there are drugs there will be guns. Drug trafficking organizations use guns and violence to secure turf and intimidate or eliminate competition. We will continue to work with the Police Department to make the city safer and more secure, and we will do it neighborhood by neighborhood.”
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “NYPD officers routinely risk their own lives to improve public safety for New Yorkers, and this investigation of a violent drug trafficking crew is no exception. The subjects in this case possessed and sold assault weapons to police, and used threats of violence to bolster their business of exploiting drug addicts, until the NYPD and federal partners stepped in. I commend the detectives in this case, especially those working undercover, as well as FBI investigators and prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's office, on their efforts to return peace to law-abiding residents of the Bronx.”
As alleged in the Indictment and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:
Members of the Briggs Organization have been engaged in the sale of heroin and crack cocaine since 2008. Between May 2012 and March 2013, several NYPD officers, working in an undercover capacity (the “UCs”) made approximately 21 separate purchases of heroin from at least 18 different members of the Briggs Organization. On each of those occasions, members of the Briggs Organization sold heroin to UCs which was branded with one of the Briggs Organization's stamps, including, “Oh Yeah” and “Fugitive.” During the course of this investigation, the UCs purchased over 900 “bundles” of heroin and firearms, including an AK-47 assault rifle and an UZI 9mm machine gun. In the course of the charged conspiracy, members of the drug trafficking organization used firearms, threats of violence and violence to secure and enforce their drug territory.
MARK ALLIE, JOSE VERA, JONATHAN SAMBULA, GUILLERMO ORTIZ, MICHAEL ORTIZ, JAMAINE TAYLOR, RACHEL DIAZ, CHRISTIAN FABRE, DAMON GROOMS, ROBERT HENDERSON, NOEL FELICIANO, JOSE AVILES, JONATHAN MIRABAL, ANDRE CUNNINGHAM, HARANAKK DINGLE, LUIS GUZMAN, ZOA BRIGGS, ROBERT TORRES, DARNELL HOPKINS, JELFREY GUTIERREZ, JASON LEWIS, MAX JORDAN, EDWARD ALEXIS MEDRANO, LUZ FIGUEROA, FNU LNU, a/k/a “Kat,” MICHAEL McDUFFIE, and DAVID WILSON, are charged with conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute heroin and crack cocaine.
ALLIE, SAMBULA, ORTIZ, TAYLOR, GROOMS, CUNNINGHAM, JORDAN, FIGUEROA, FNU LNU, a/k/a “Kat,” are also charged with possessing, brandishing and discharging firearms in connection with the drug crimes.
STEVE RAMSNAMY is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, specifically an AK-47 assault rifle.
A chart containing the ages, residency information, and charges against the defendants, as well as the maximum penalties they face is attached.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD. He added that the investigation is continuing.
The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica Ortiz and Jessica Masella are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.