FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Williamsburg Man Who Operated Heroin
Trafficking Ring and Co-defendant Plead Guilty
Admit to Participating in Large Scale Narcotics Conspiracy
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that two men involved with a heroin distribution ring that operated out of Williamsburg and supplied heroin to, among other places, Staten Island, pleaded guilty today as their trial was about to begin.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “We’ve seen a dramatic surge in the use of heroin here in New York and across the country over the last few years. The epidemic use of this highly addictive drug is destroying lives and families. Dismantling this ring and holding its leaders accountable is part of our continued commitment to fighting this scourge.”
The District Attorney said that Josie Tavera, 25, of Williamsburg, and Jason Collazo, 37, of Staten Island, today pleaded guilty before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen as their trial was about to get underway. Tavera, identified as the ringleader, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree and one count of second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, one count of first-degree and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree conspiracy in exchange for a sentence of 14 years in prison. Collazo pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, one count of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and one count of second-degree conspiracy in exchange for a sentence of 11 years in prison. The defendants will be sentenced on March 7, 2017.
Specifically, according to the investigation, much of the drug-related activity occurred in and around Tavera’s Driggs Avenue apartment in Williamsburg between January and September 2015. Several people supplied Tavera with a large quantity of heroin and in turn, he supplied a number of individuals with heroin to be resold, including defendant Collazo. Most of the heroin resold by Collazo ended up on the streets of Staten Island.
The Acting District Attorney said that the investigation was conducted using electronic, video and physical surveillance and that the defendants conspired to possess and sell heroin in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan. Josie Tavera was at the nexus of the distribution ring. Twenty-three co-defendants who were indicted in the case have all pleaded guilty and received sentences reflecting their various roles in the ring. The defendants flooded the streets with heroin sold under various brands including “Knockout,” “Takeover,” “Power Hour,” “Killing Time,” “Pure,” “Gucci,” and “Scorpion.”
Assistant District Attorney James Slattery of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Jonathan R. Sennett, Deputy Bureau Chief, prosecuted the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.