You are here

Justice News

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

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Two Defendants Charged With 1997 Double Murder For Hire In The Bronx

Geoffrey S. Berman, 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, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of a federal indictment charging ROBERT ACOSTA and JOSE DIAZ, a/k/a “Cano,” with the December 22, 1997, murders of Alex Ventura, 25, and Aneudis Almonte, 20.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Today’s indictment alleges that more than two decades ago, Robert Acosta orchestrated, and Jose Diaz carried out, the murders of Alex Ventura and Aneudis Almonte.  Now, thanks to the outstanding work of the NYPD and FBI, the long arm of the law has reached back over two decades to charge Acosta and Diaz with those terrible crimes.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “This case proves why there is no time limit on holding someone responsible for murder; taking a human life is the worst crime a person can commit. Our agents and law enforcement partners work daily, pursuing suspects in crimes that seem unsolvable.  The time and dedication make it worth the effort.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “After more than twenty years on-the-run, NYPD detectives and FBI agents have arrested two defendants for a double homicide in the Bronx. The focus and precision this case embodies is what has enabled this city to become the safest city in America. We will continue rooting out crime and violence wherever we find it, until every neighborhood and block of this city is safe.”

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

In late 1997, ACOSTA agreed with DIAZ and others to pay DIAZ and others to kill persons who had stolen drug money from ACOSTA.  As a result of this agreement, Alex Ventura and Aneudis Almonte were murdered by DIAZ and others on December 22, 1997, in the vicinity of 2769 University Avenue in the Bronx, New York. 

*                      *                     *

ACOSTA, 46, of Yonkers, New York, and DIAZ, 52, of the Bronx, New York, were arrested this morning by the NYPD and the FBI.  The defendants will be presented later today before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox.  The case has been assigned to United States District Judge P. Kevin Castel.

The Indictment charges each of the defendants in six counts: murder while engaged in a conspiracy to distribute five and more kilograms of cocaine and aiding and abetting the same (Counts One and Two); murder-for-hire conspiracy (Count Three); murder-for-hire and aiding and abetting the same (Counts Four and Five); and use of a firearm to commit murder in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and aiding and abetting the same (Count Six).  ACOSTA and DIAZ each face a maximum sentence of life in prison or death.  The statutory 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

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Laurie A. Korenbaum, Michael Kim Krouse, and Nicholas Chiuchiolo 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.


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

Press Release Number: 
Updated February 1, 2018