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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Members Of Bronx Drug Trafficking Organization Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Narcotics And Firearms Trafficking Offenses

Joon H. Kim, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division (“DEA”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging nine members of a Bronx drug trafficking organization with narcotics and firearms trafficking offenses. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood.

 

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “The defendants, members of a drug organization associated with the Crips street gang, allegedly sold large amounts of heroin, crack cocaine, and illegal firearms – including assault rifles – on the streets of the central Bronx. Together with our partners at the DEA and the NYPD, we are committed to protecting our city from drugs and illegal guns.”

 

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said: “Gun and drug trafficking have been the financial fortress behind gangs, such as the Hughes Avenue Organization. Unfortunately, these gangs set up shop in communities, intimidating neighborhoods and putting them in danger. Law enforcement has pooled resources to target drug gangs in this city and to remove those responsible for fueling gun violence and drug trafficking.”

 

According to the Indictment[1] unsealed in Manhattan federal court and statements made in court:

 

The members of the Hughes Avenue drug trafficking organization (the “Hughes Avenue DTO”) controlled narcotics trafficking near East Tremont Avenue, Hughes Avenue, and Belmont Avenue in the Bronx, New York. From 2016 to August 2017, members of the Hughes Avenue DTO sold heroin and crack cocaine in that area. Certain members of the Hughes Avenue DTO also illegally sold firearms for profit. firearms included an AK-47 assault rifle, an SKS assault rifle, a shotgun, and handguns. Members of the DTO are also members and associates of the “Rolling 30s” neighborhood set of the nationwide Crips street gang.

 

Count One of the Indictment charges ARIEL ACOSTA, a/k/a “A-Loc,” a/k/a “Blue,” a/k/a “True Blue,” ZORA BENITEZ, a/k/a “Baby," DERRICK RICHARDSON, a/k/a “J-Rock,” KEVIN RIVERA, a/k/a “Montana,” SANTOS RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Lefty,” EDWIN ROMAN, a/k/a “Capo,” KENNETH SAMPSON, a/k/a “Remo,” JAYLEN SCOTT-KING, a/k/a “Boo,” a/k/a “Legend,” a/k/a “Flirm,” and ALEXIS VALDEZ, a/k/a “Lil Rico,” with participating in a conspiracy to distribute one kilogram and more of heroin and 280 grams and more of crack cocaine.

 

Count Two of the Indictment charges ACOSTA, SCOTT-KING, and VALDEZ with firearms trafficking.

 

Counts Three and Four of the Indictment charge ACOSTA and VALDEZ with being felons in possession of firearms.

 

In a coordinated operation, eight of the defendants were arrested in New York on Tuesday afternoon and earlier today. Defendants ACOSTA, RICHARDSON, RODRIGUEZ, and VALDEZ were in custody on state charges and have been transferred to federal custody. They will be presented this afternoon in Manhattan federal court. BENITEZ remains at large. A chart identifying each defendant, the charges, and the maximum penalties is attached to this release.

 

* * *

 

Mr. Kim thanked the DEA and the NYPD for their work on the investigation.

 

The Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit is overseeing the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Drew Skinner and Anden Chow 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.

 

CHARGE(S)

DEFENDANTS

MAXIMUM PENALTIES

Count One

Narcotics conspiracy, 21 U.S.C. § 846

(Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 1 kilogram and more of heroin and 280 grams and more of crack cocaine.)

ARIEL ACOSTA,

a/k/a “A-Loc,”

a/k/a “Blue,”

a/k/a “True Blue,”

 

ZORA BENITEZ,

a/k/a “Baby,"

 

DERRICK RICHARDSON,

a/k/a “J-Rock,”

 

KEVIN RIVERA,

a/k/a “Montana,”

 

SANTOS RODRIGUEZ,

a/k/a “Lefty,”

 

EDWIN ROMAN,

a/k/a “Capo,”

 

KENNETH SAMPSON,

a/k/a “Remo,”

 

JAYLEN SCOTT-KING,

a/k/a “Boo,”

a/k/a “Legend,”

a/k/a “Flirm,”

 

ALEXIS VALDEZ,

a/k/a “Lil Rico”

Lifetime imprisonment

 

Mandatory minimum: 10 years in prison

Count Two

Firearms trafficking, 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A)

ARIEL ACOSTA,

a/k/a “A-Loc,”

a/k/a “Blue,”

a/k/a “True Blue,”

 

JAYLEN SCOTT-KING,

a/k/a “Boo,”

a/k/a “Legend,”

a/k/a “Flirm,”

 

ALEXIS VALDEZ,

a/k/a “Lil Rico”

 

5 years in prison

 

 

 

Count Three

Felon in possession of firearms, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)

ARIEL ACOSTA,

a/k/a “A-Loc,”

a/k/a “Blue,”

a/k/a “True Blue,”

 

ALEXIS VALDEZ,

a/k/a “Lil Rico”

10 years in prison

Count Four

Felon in possession of firearms, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)

Count Four

Felon in possession of firearms, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)

10 years in prison

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 
17-249
Updated August 9, 2017