Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Keechant L. Sewell, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of Indictments charging DAGOBERTO SOTO-RAMIREZ, a/k/a “Pito,” SAUL ARISMENDY DE LA CRUZ, a/k/a “Nene,” a/k/a “Venom,” EDWIN LUCIANO RODRIGUEZ-GENAO, a/k/a “Pantalla,” SANTIAGO XAVIER MALDONADO, a/k/a “Xavier,” and DIEGO MUELAS-GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Menor,” for their participation in a violent theft crew. DE LA CRUZ, RODRIGUEZ-GENAO, MALDONADO, and MUELAS-GONZALEZ were arrested this morning and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy. SOTO-RAMIREZ has not been arrested at this time.
DAGOBERTO SOTO-RAMIREZ: WANTED BY THE FBI
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, this crew stole substantial quantities of cash and valuables from dozens of families in New York and across the country, predominantly targeting Asian-American small business owners. And, as alleged, they bribed an NYPD detective in an attempt to get away with it. Corruption, violence, and racially targeted crime are intolerable, and this Office stands with our law enforcement partners in the fight against all three. Dagoberto Soto-Ramirez, the alleged leader of this violent crew, remains at large. We encourage anyone who may have additional information regarding Dagoberto Soto-Ramirez’s whereabouts to please call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said: “Over an extended period, the defendants allegedly participated in a string of violent armed robberies and additional crimes designed to conceal the thefts. The crew went so far as to entice a member of law enforcement to help them evade capture. The FBI will continue to work diligently everyday to remove violent criminals from our communities.”
NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said: “Violent criminal acts like the type alleged today are a disgrace. When such behavior involves a former police officer who shamelessly exploits their position of power for personal gain, it erodes public trust in law enforcement and tarnishes the reputations of the many thousands of women and men who honorably serve New Yorkers each day. There will always be zero tolerance in the NYPD for corruption of any kind. And our investigators, in close partnership with all of our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, will continue to ensure that it is punished to the fullest extent possible.”
As alleged in the Indictment and Superseding Indictments unsealed in White Plains federal court:
Between 2017 and 2022, SOTO-RAMIREZ organized a crew that committed residential burglaries and home invasion robberies, repeatedly targeting small business owners. The majority of the targeted victims were Asian-American. Armed with guns and other weapons, members of the crew stole money, jewelry, and other property from scores of homes in states across the country. RODRIGUEZ-GENAO, MALDONADO, and MUELAS-GONZALEZ took part in the crew’s criminal scheme, which also included the use of false identification, bank fraud, and laundering theft proceeds. In addition, SOTO-RAMIREZ and other members of the conspiracy bribed DE LA CRUZ, first an officer and later a detective of the NYPD, who helped members of the crew escape arrest. As part of his activities with the crew, SOTO-RAMIREZ committed two gunpoint home invasion robberies in Queens.
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SOTO-RAMIREZ, 41, of the Bronx, New York, DE LA CRUZ, 31, RODRIGUEZ-GENAO, 48, MALDONADO, 43, and MUELAS-GONZALEZ, 26, all of Queens, New York, are each charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. SOTO-RAMIREZ is additionally charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, each of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and two counts of possession of a firearm, which was brandished, in furtherance of a crime of violence, each of which carry a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The statutory minimum and maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants would be determined by the judge.
Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the FBI, the Westchester County Joint Organized Crime Task Force, the New York Public Corruption Task Force, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, the NYPD, the Nassau County Police Department, the New York State Police, and the Fort Lee Police Department. He added that the investigation is ongoing.
The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Josiah Pertz and Jeffrey C. Coffman are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment and Superseding Indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the description of the Indictment and the other charging documents set forth in this release constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.