FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Twenty-Two Defendants Named in Two Separate Indictments
For Operating Heroin and Cocaine Trafficking Rings in Williamsburg
Larger of the Two Conspiracies Regularly Operated Out of South 4th Street Barbershop;
Sales and Distribution of Approximately $1 Million a Year
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced that 22 defendants have been variously charged in two separate indictments with conspiracy, sale and possession of controlled substances for allegedly selling cocaine and heroin in Williamsburg.
District Attorney Thompson said, “Drug dealers peddle poison that kills our neighbors, degrades our communities and frequently leads to violence. I have no tolerance for these activities and we will continue to aggressively prosecute these important cases.”
Commissioner Bratton said, “These drugs often cause deadly addiction and bring even more deadly violence. Today, Williamsburg is a little bit safer.”
The District Attorney said that the larger of the two indictments involves 18 defendants charged in a 157-count indictment for selling cocaine and heroin in the vicinity of South 5th Street and Keap Street, including often congregating at the L & L Barbershop on South 4th Street and allegedly storing drugs in an office within the barbershop. The investigation was conducted using electronic, video and physical surveillance.
The indictment charges that between August 18, 2015 and February 18, 2016, the defendants conspired to possess and sell heroin and cocaine in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Suffolk County. It is alleged that defendants Armando Baez, Radames Lopez, Juan Perez and Christopher Rodriguez, obtained and stored the narcotics in bulk, supervised the repackaging of the narcotics for resale to each other and to wholesale and retail customers, negotiated the terms of the specific sales and sold or directly supervised the drug sales. Fifteen of the sales took place within 1,000 feet of a school, including Public School 120 on Beaver Street, Public School 287 on Navy Street and the Bright Horizons Day Care Center on Kent Avenue.
It is alleged that Baez, Lopez, Perez and Rodriguez stored, prepared and repackaged the narcotics in a series of “safehouses,” including some of their residences and at the L & L barbershop. They and the other defendants allegedly conducted anywhere from 20 to 40 transactions a day, with sales and distribution of approximately $1 million a year. Customers allegedly called the defendants’ cell phones or texted them to arrange to meet.
Most of the defendants were arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bruce Balter. They are variously charged with first-, second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; third-, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second- and fourth-degree conspiracy. The top counts, first-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, are A-I felonies that carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. All of the defendants are charged with fourth-degree conspiracy, an E felony which carries a penalty of four years in prison.
The District Attorney said that, in the second indictment, which was unsealed this morning, four defendants are charged with making narcotics sales, including crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana, to undercover police officers during the course of the investigation, between June 3, 2015 and January 8, 2016.
The investigation began following numerous complaints about drug activity in and around 417 Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, and the shooting of Andrew Sanchez. Sanchez was shot in front of that address in what was believed to be a drug-related shooting.
According to the investigation, the defendants each sold the drugs they had and if they did not have the type of drugs requested they would get them from another of the defendants. Among the defendants charged in the indictment are two members of the same family: Juan Pedraza, and his son, Juan Pedraza Jr. The Pedrazas both live at 417 Lorimer Street.
The defendants were arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Shawndya Simpson on a 38-count indictment in which they are variously charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both class B felonies punishable by up to nine years in prison and fourth-degree criminal sale of marihuana, a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
The investigation leading to the 157-count indictment was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective Paul Molinaro of the Brooklyn North Gang Squad, under the supervision of Sergeant Ryan Gillis and the overall supervision of Captain Stephen Espinoza.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Elizabeth Kowell, Chloe Aquart and Angela Weir, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy G. Gough, Bureau Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Blank, Chief of the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Bureau, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.
The investigation leading to the 38-count indictment was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective Brian DePalo, Detective Sean Finnegan and Detective John Gamble, of the Narcotics Borough Brooklyn North, Major Case Unit, under the supervision of Lieutenant William Buchanan, Sergeant Robert Maloney and the overall supervision of Inspector Joseph Kenny.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Maria Park, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Nicole Chavis, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of Investigations, and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.
- Juan Acevedo, dob: 10-24-89, 184 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Christopher Rodriguez, dob: 9-12-91, 258 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Santo Heredia, dob: 4-9-1993, 160 1st Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Geraldine Collado, dob: 9-25-1988, 50 North 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Tevin Gonzalez, dob: 11-21-1991, 393 Hewes Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Britny Bermudez, dob: 6-5-1996, 247 South 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Samuel Gutierrez, dob: 9-7-1998, 932 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.
- Jose Araujo, dob: 9-28-1986, 329 Lexington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.
- Radames Lopez, dob: 10-23-1986, 28 Fleet Walk, Brooklyn, NY.
- Armando Baez, dob: 3-18-1998, 393 South 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Joshua Bisono, dob: 9-28-1990, 392 South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Jesse Bisono, dob: 6-29-1994, 392 South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Juan Perez, dob:2-26-1998, 50 North 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Adonis Aracena, dob: 11-1-1994, 392 South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Noah Aranzamendi, dob: 8-25-1998, 35 Jackson Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Francisco Candelier, dob: 5-6-1998, 160 South 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Frederick Feliz, dob: 3-25-1994, 374 South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Dioni Vasquez, dob: 3-24-1990, 366 South 1st Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Gabriel Mason, dob: 11-5-91, 129 Ten Eyck Walk, Brooklyn, NY.
- Juan Pedraza, dob: 12-12-69, 417 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Juan Pedraza Jr., dob: 5-30-91, 417 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY.
- Benjamin Vasquez, dob: 11-13-70, 391 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.