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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 5, 2016

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

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging 22 members of the “Flybridge” drug trafficking organization with narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses.  The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Gregory H. Woods.  The defendants will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis later this afternoon. 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “With the indictment of 22 alleged members of a violent drug trafficking group, we seek to stem the flow of drugs and the cycle of violence in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx.  As alleged, these defendants trafficked in all types of drugs – heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine, oxycodone, and marijuana – peddling it from restaurants, convenience stores, and apartment buildings and protecting their illegal trade with guns and violence.  I thank our partners at the FBI and NYPD for their work in this investigation and for their commitment to making our city safer and drug-free.”  

FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “As alleged, the ‘Flybridge’ crew conspired to sell narcotics including crack cocaine, cocaine, heroin, oxycodone and marijuana in the Highbridge neighborhood out of the Bronx. Selling out of restaurants, convenience stores and apartment buildings, the Flybridge crew brought in violence too. The FBI New York Metro Safe Streets Task Force will continue to go after gangs to clear our communities of violence and drugs.”

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “These defendants treated a segment of the Highbridge section of the Bronx as their own supermarket for illegal drugs, including marijuana, pills, heroin and cocaine without any regard for the adverse impact on the residents and businesses in the area.  As is usually the case, this drug activity went hand-in-hand with illegal firearms and associated violence.  Exceptional investigative and case development work went into building the case against these defendants.  Once again, the combined efforts of our law enforcement and prosecution partners have paid off with the indictment of those responsible for infecting this Bronx community with the poison of drugs and violence.”

As alleged in the Indictment and in other court papers[1]:

The “Flybridge” drug trafficking organization (the “Flybridge DTO”) is a group of individuals who are engaged in narcotics trafficking and violence in the vicinity of 165th Street and Woodycrest Avenue, in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx.  From at least in or about 2014, up to and including in or about September 2016, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, MARC BENVENUTTI, JONATHAN PEREZ, a/k/a “G,” KENNETH LACEN, a/k/a “Montana,” VERDELL PICKNEY, a/k/a “Verdell Davis,” a/k/a “V-12,” PAUL GIST, a/k/a “Peewee,” a/k/a “Sweet Pea,” ROBERT GIST, a/k/a “G-Baby,” CICERO WILLIAMS, a/k/a “Tubes,” a/k/a “Boobie,” JOSEPH ENCARNACION, a/k/a “Cabeza,” KELVIN POLANCO, a/k/a “Psycho,” a/k/a “Fresh,” JABARI ADAMS, a/k/a “Flea,” a/k/a “Bari,” BRANDON SMITH, a/k/a “B Skillz,” JOSEPH RIVERA, a/k/a “Jojo,” LANCE WRIGHT, CYNTHIA WOODS, a/k/a “Brooklyn,” JUNIOR GRIFFIN, KEITH NESBITT, a/k/a “Baldy,” GREGORY HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Kane,” EDUARDO ROSA, a/k/a “Lil Bro Ed,” LUIS CABAN, a/k/a “Jay,” DANIEL RENVILL, a/k/a “D,” AMANDA LOPEZ, and MADELINE OLIVARES conspired to distribute significant amounts of narcotics, including crack cocaine, cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, and marijuana, in and around, among other places, the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx, on a daily basis.  The Flybridge DTO controlled narcotics sales between 164th Street and 165th Street, between Ogden Avenue and Anderson Avenue, including by selling out of restaurants, convenience stores, and in and around apartment buildings in that area. 

In addition, members of the Flybridge DTO protected and maintained their drug business through firearms and acts of violence.  For example, in or about March 2016, KENNETH LACEN, a/k/a “Montana,” the defendant, bragged about an incident in which he had attempted to shoot at another individual because of a drug debt.  In or about March 2014, JONATHAN PEREZ, a/k/a “G,” the defendant, engaged in a dispute with rival drug dealers that culminated in a shootout on the Major Deegan Expressway, during the course of which PEREZ was himself shot.  Other members of the Flybridge DTO, such as VERDELL PICKNEY, a/k/a “Verdell Davis,” a/k/a “V-12,” ROBERT GIST, a/k/a “G-Baby,” PAUL GIST, a/k/a “Sweet Pea,” a/k/a “Peewee,” and AMANDA LOPEZ, stored firearms in the area in which the Flybridge DTO operated, in order to, among other things, protect their drug turf. 

Count One of the Indictment charges MARC BENVENUTTI, JONATHAN PEREZ, a/k/a “G,” KENNETH LACEN, a/k/a “Montana,” VERDELL PICKNEY, a/k/a “Verdell Davis,” a/k/a “V-12,” PAUL GIST, a/k/a “Peewee,” a/k/a “Sweet Pea,” ROBERT GIST, a/k/a “G-Baby,” CICERO WILLIAMS, a/k/a “Tubes,” a/k/a “Boobie,” JOSEPH ENCARNACION, a/k/a “Cabeza,” KELVIN POLANCO, a/k/a “Psycho,” a/k/a “Fresh,” JABARI ADAMS, a/k/a “Flea,” a/k/a “Bari,” BRANDON SMITH, a/k/a “B Skillz,” JOSEPH RIVERA, a/k/a “Jojo,” LANCE WRIGHT, CYNTHIA WOODS, a/k/a “Brooklyn,” JUNIOR GRIFFIN, KEITH NESBITT, a/k/a “Baldy,” GREGORY HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Kane,” EDUARDO ROSA, a/k/a “Lil Bro Ed,” LUIS CABAN, a/k/a “Jay,” DANIEL RENVILL, a/k/a “D,” AMANDA LOPEZ, and MADELINE OLIVARES with participating in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics, including crack cocaine, cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, and marijuana.

Count Two of the Indictment charges KENNETH LACEN, a/k/a “Montana,” VERDELL PICKNEY, a/k/a “Verdell Davis” a/k/a “V-12,” and CICERO WILLIAMS, a/k/a “Tubes,” a/k/a “Boobie,” with possessing firearms in furtherance of the narcotics conspiracy charged in Count One, which were discharged.

Count Three of the Indictment charges JONATHAN PEREZ, a/k/a “G,” ROBERT GIST, a/k/a “G-Baby,” PAUL GIST, a/k/a “Sweet Pea,” a/k/a “Peewee,” and AMANDA LOPEZ with possessing firearms in furtherance of the narcotics conspiracy charged in Count One.

*                      *                     *

The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentences imposed on the defendants will be determined by the Court.

A chart containing the names of the defendants, and the charges and maximum penalties they face, is attached.

Mr. Bharara thanked the FBI and the NYPD, in particular, the New York Metro Safe Streets Task Force, as well as the Criminal Investigators at the United States Attorney’s Office, for their work on the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebekah Donaleski, Kimberly J. Ravener, and Jilan J. Kamal 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.     

United States v. Marc Benvenutti, et al., 16 Cr. 656 (GHW)

COUNT

CHARGE

DEFENDANTS

MAX. PENALTIES

        1

Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics

 

21 U.S.C. § 846

MARC BENVENUTTI JONATHAN PEREZ KENNETH LACEN VERDELL PICKNEY PAUL GIST

ROBERT GIST

CICERO WILLIAMS

JOSEPH ENCARNACION

KELVIN POLANCO

JABARI ADAMS

BRANDON SMITH

JOSEPH RIVERA

LANCE WRIGHT CYNTHIA WOODS

JUNIOR GRIFFIN

KEITH NESBITT

GREGORY HERNANDEZ

EDUARDO ROSA

LUIS CABAN

DANIEL RENVILL

AMANDA LOPEZ MADELINE OLIVARES

Life in prison

 

 

2

Discharge of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Trafficking

 

18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A)(iii)

KENNETH LACEN

VERDELL DAVIS

CICERO WILLIAMS

Life in prison

 

 

3

Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Trafficking

 

18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A)(i)

JONATHAN PEREZ

ROBERT GIST

PAUL GIST

AMANDA LOPEZ

Life in prison

 

DEFENDANT

AGE

RESIDENCE

MARC BENVENUTTI

22

Bronx, New York

JONATHAN PEREZ,

a/k/a “G”

24

Bronx, New York

KENNETH LACEN,

a/k/a “Montana”

21

Bronx, New York

VERDELL PICKNEY,

a/k/a “Verdell Davis”

a/k/a “V-12”

20

Bronx, New York

PAUL GIST,

a/k/a “Peewee”

a/k/a “Sweet Pea”

22

Bronx, New York

ROBERT GIST,

a/k/a “G-Baby”

25

Bronx, New York

CICERO WILLIAMS,

a/k/a “Tubes”

a/k/a “Boobie”

35

Bronx, New York

JOSEPH ENCARNACION,

a/k/a “Cabeza”

39

Bronx, New York

KELVIN POLANCO,

a/k/a “Psycho”

a/k/a “Fresh”

23

Bronx, New York

JABARI ADAMS,

a/k/a “Flea”

a/k/a “Bari”

24

Bronx, New York

BRANDON SMITH,

a/k/a “B Skillz”

19

Bronx, New York

JOSEPH RIVERA,

a/k/a “Jojo”

22

Bronx, New York

LANCE WRIGHT

46

Bronx, New York

CYNTHIA WOODS,

a/k/a “Brooklyn”

54

Bronx, New York

JUNIOR GRIFFIN

41

Bronx, New York

KEITH NESBITT,

a/k/a “Baldy”

52

Bronx, New York

GREGORY HERNANDEZ,

a/k/a “Kane”

40

Bronx, New York

EDUARDO ROSA,

a/k/a “Lil Bro Ed”

21

Bronx, New York

LUIS CABAN,

a/k/a “Jay”

37

Bronx, New York

DANIEL RENVILL,

a/k/a “D”

23

Bronx, New York

AMANDA LOPEZ

21

Bronx, New York

MADELINE OLIVARES

36

Bronx, New York

 

 

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

16-265
Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Updated October 5, 2016