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Press Release

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 13 Members And Associates Of Bronx Narcotics Organization With Crack Cocaine And Heroin Distribution

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

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 for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging 13 members and associates of a drug trafficking organization (the “Organization”) operating in the Bronx with narcotics trafficking. Of the defendants charged, all thirteen defendants were arrested today, including four defendants who were already in custody on state charges that have been transferred to federal custody. Eleven defendants arrested today were presented in Manhattan federal court before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox. The case has been assigned to U. S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Today we continue our efforts to rid the Southern District of drug trafficking crews who peddle their lethal product in our neighborhoods, this time by taking down an alleged group of crack cocaine and heroin dealers in the Bronx. This case is the latest example of law enforcement working together to keep our neighborhoods safe.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said: “Crack and heroin are a blight on the communities they infest. Even absent the violence that almost always comes with the territory, there would be reason enough to target drug trafficking. But it isn’t just a matter of stopping the spread of poison. Drug trafficking entails violence with such frequency that curbing drug activity means reducing violent crime.”

NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “Just as the NYPD collaborates with landlords in our "Clean Halls" program to suppress drug dealing and its associated violence in privately-owned buildings in the Bronx, we collaborated with the FBI and Federal prosecutors to suppress drug trafficking in and around Bronx public housing in this case. Residents of crime-prone neighborhoods deserve a modicum of safety others take for granted. Thanks to the detectives, agents and prosecutors who worked together on this case, law-abiding residents of the Bronx are that much safer today.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, other publicly filed documents, and statements made in court earlier today:

Since at least June 2012, the Organization’s members have sold crack cocaine and heroin to street level drug customers, and supplied it to other Bronx drug dealers, primarily in and around the John Adams Housing Project near Tinton Avenue in the Bronx.

The investigation into the Organization’s narcotics trafficking included the court-authorized interception of phone calls and text messages to and from the cellular telephone of a member of the Organization, as well as a number of controlled buys of heroin and crack cocaine by a confidential informant. The investigation was conducted in concert with an investigation into the 2010 murder of an individual on Nelson Avenue in the Bronx. The murder was suspected to have been committed by, among others, Jermaine Smalls, a leading member of the Organization. In October 2012, during the course of the investigations, Smalls was shot and killed outside a Manhattan night club. The investigation into both murders continues.

The defendants are charged with one count of conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, crack cocaine and heroin, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a potential maximum sentence of life in prison. Charts containing the names, ages, and residences for the defendants are attached.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD, and added that the investigation is continuing.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kan Nawaday and Andrew Bauer 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.

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Updated May 18, 2015

Press Release Number: 13-025