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Press Release

Leader Of Manhattan Drug Trafficking Organization Convicted Of Narcotics Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that EDDIE COTTO, a/k/a “Eddie Diamond,” was found guilty yesterday in Manhattan federal court following a week-long jury trial before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.  COTTO is scheduled to appear for sentencing before Judge Rakoff on November 3, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As a unanimous jury swiftly determined, Eddie Cotto peddled poison in a public housing building for over a year, disrupting the lives of New Yorkers.  Cotto’s distribution of heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl and his callous disregard for its consequences have resulted in today’s conviction.”

As reflected in the Indictment, public filings, and other evidence presented at trial:

EDDIE COTTO was the leader of a drug trafficking organization (the “DTO”) that operated in New York, New York, and controlled drug sales of heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl in and around a New York City Housing Authority building at 1760 Lexington Avenue (the “Building”).  COTTO supervised and coordinated the supply of narcotics to his co-defendants, and stored the DTO’s narcotics in the locked janitorial closets of the Building.  COTTO acted as the gatekeeper of the Building generally from the safety of a Winnebago that COTTO parked in the vicinity of the Building.  From the early morning hours, COTTO would direct his co-defendants, generally via walkie-talkie, to serve customers whom COTTO was sending to the Building to complete narcotics transactions. 

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COTTO, 61, of New York, New York, was convicted of one count of narcotics conspiracy in violation of 21 U.S.C § 846 and four counts of narcotics distribution in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C).  COTTO faces a mandatory minimum term of five years’ imprisonment and a total maximum sentence for all counts of conviction of 120 years in prison.

Other members of the conspiracy in this case who have been sentenced include SAMMY MCCOY, 64, of New York, New York, who was sentenced to 98 months in prison on May 19, 2019, ERVIN ORTIZ, 62, of New York, New York, who was sentenced to 66 months in prison on May 20, 2021, and JJIMMY RIVAS, 28, of New York, New York, who was sentenced to 24 months in prison on October 11, 2019.  MCCOY and RIVAS were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero and ORTIZ was sentenced by Judge Rakoff.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy V. Capozzi, Rebecca T. Dell, Aline R. Flodr, and Emily A. Johnson are in charge of the prosecution. 


Nicholas Biase, James Margolin
(212) 637-2600

Updated July 22, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 21-188