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Press Release

Five Defendants Plead Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Armed Robbery Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Robbery Crew Committed At Least 11 Armed Robberies in New York City, Including Stabbing a Victim in the Torso During a Home Invasion Robbery

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), Ashan M. Benedict, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced that five defendants—SIRA ABASSI, KENLEE GALVEZ, DAVID BRADFORD, JEREMIAS MUNOZ, and LUIS MONSANTO-GERMOSEN—pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery during August and September of 2017.  Each defendant pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Deborah A. Batts.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated:  “During August and September of 2017, a rotating crew of armed robbers committed nearly a dozen armed robberies in New York City, victimizing businesses and homes alike.  During one home invasion robbery in the middle of the night, a victim was stabbed in the torso.  Thanks to our law enforcement partners, this robbery crew has been dismantled and all five defendants in this case have admitted to taking part in this brazen scheme.”

HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez said:  “This crew conducted nearly a dozen armed robberies.  They preyed on local businesses for their own greedy gain and used physical force whenever they deemed necessary.  HSI’s El Dorado Task Force, which includes task force officers from the Westchester County DA’s office, worked closely with the NYPD and ATF to apprehend these criminals, ensuring that they face justice for their criminal actions.”

ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan M. Benedict said:  “The defendants were members of an organized ring of armed robbers that committed numerous brazen acts of violence all across the city.  Thanks to the investigative work of the ATF/NYPD Joint Robbery Task Force and the collaborative efforts of our state and federal partners, they will no longer prey on the innocent in their community.  ATF remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting citizens from violence and the lasting effects it has on communities.  I would also like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill said:  “Today’s guilty pleas reflect the highly-effective work of our NYPD investigators and our law enforcement partners at the Southern District, whose precise focus on the real drivers of crime in New York City is relentless. It is imperative that we continue to strongly collaborate in this way — that is how we will keep New Yorkers safe in every neighborhood.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint, the Superseding Indictment to which each defendant pled guilty, public court filings, and statements made in court:

For approximately two months—August and September of 2017—a rotating crew of robbers committed at least 11 successful armed robberies in New York City and attempted several more.  They targeted primarily Asian-owned businesses in Brooklyn and Queens, such as billiards halls and internet cafes.  They also committed home invasion robberies of at least two residences in Queens believed to be locations of gambling operations.  The robbers typically conducted these robberies at night.  For each robbery, they were armed with at least one knife and BB-gun, which they brandished and pointed at victims.  At times, they forced victims to open cash registers at knifepoint, while clutching a victim’s neck.

During these robberies, the robbers physically injured at least two victims.  During a home invasion robbery, one victim—who was asleep when the robbers entered—woke up, resisted, and was stabbed in the torso during the ensuing scuffle; his bloodied shirt, and his doubling over in pain, are visible on video surveillance.  Second, during a robbery of a commercial establishment, a perpetrator hit a resisting victim in the head with a BB gun.  Over the course of the conspiracy, the robbers used force, and the threat of force, to take the following items from victims: a total of more than approximately $20,000, approximately 20 cellphones, credit cards, a wallet, driver’s licenses, a social security card, and other electronic devices.  They took cellphones so that victims could not call 911.

The scheme continued until the night of September 29, 2017, when four defendants—ABASSI, GALVEZ, BRADFORD, and MUNOZ—were caught red-handed en route to another robbery.  They were found in possession of, among other things, a BB-gun, two screwdrivers, three masks, two pairs of gloves, backpacks to fill with robbery proceeds, attire that matched that of the robbers on video from a robbery earlier that week, and a spiral notebook containing handwritten notes (e.g., “gold,” “straight cash,” “doctor,” and “drugs!”) including names, addresses, and physical descriptions of apparent robbery targets.

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SIRA ABASSI, 21, of Bayside, New York, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 

KENLEE GALVEZ, 23, of Flushing, New York, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and to Hobbs Act robbery, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

DAVID BRADFORD, 31, of New York, New York, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

JEREMIAS MUNOZ, 19, of Brooklyn, New York, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

LUIS MONSANTO-GERMOSEN, 23, of Corona, New York, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by Judge Batts.  Sentencings are scheduled for different dates in 2019.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the ATF, the Strategic Pattern Armed Robbery Technical Apprehension (“SPARTA”) Task Force, the NYPD, and HSI.

If you believe you were a victim of this offense, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Victim/Witness Coordinators at (212) 637-2200.

This matter is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica Greenwood and Michael D. Neff are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated October 3, 2018

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 18-336