FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Thirteen Defendants Charged in Connection with Heroin Distribution Ring
Allegedly Led by Former Basketball Standout James “Fly” Williams
Operation Distributed 2 Million Glassines in a Three-Month Period;
Four Charged as Major Traffickers under State Kingpin Statute
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, today announced that 13 people have been charged by felony complaints in connection with the operation of a major heroin distribution ring. Former NCAA and ABA basketball player James “Fly” Williams allegedly directed the operation as it purchased narcotics from suppliers in the Bronx and re-sold them, in bulk and retail quantities, in various Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Brownsville, Bushwick, Flatbush and Fort Greene.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants had no consideration of the harm suffered by so many from the dangerous narcotics they allegedly peddled. They just cared about making money, exploiting addicts and the heroin epidemic that is spreading throughout our communities with devastating results. This is the second takedown of a major opioids ring by the NYPD and my Office in as many months, showing our resolve to tackle this problem head on with all of our resources. I am determined to continue targeting narcotic distribution rings while introducing innovative strategies to stem the demand by providing opportunities for eligible defendants to get help with their addiction and hopefully turn their lives around.”
Commissioner O’Neill said, “As alleged, the quantity of heroin trafficked by the defendants speaks to the seriousness of the epidemic we are facing. The NYPD will continue to arrest people who profit on those addicted to opioids. I want to commend the NYPD detectives and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office for the work that led to today’s charges.”
The Acting District Attorney said that the defendants were arrested yesterday and are being arraigned on criminal complaints. James (“Fly”) Williams, Jeffrey Britt (“Doobie”), Hanziel Martinez Cintron (“Johnny”), and Richard Rivera (“Cristiano”) were each charged with operating as a major trafficker in violation of the state’s drug kingpin statute, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 25 years to life in prison, as well as with first- and third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and related counts. Other alleged members of the operation were variously charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, fourth-degree conspiracy and related counts. [See addendum for full list of defendants.] Additional arrests are expected as part of the investigation.
The Acting District Attorney said that the investigation was conducted between September 2016 and May 2017, and relied on undercover buys, physical surveillance, and court-ordered electronic intercepts. As alleged, between late January and late April, the ring circulated about 2 million glassines of heroin. A glassine typically has a street value of between $6 and $10.
It is alleged that Rivera supplied the narcotics to Cintron, who cut and packaged them under a single “brand,” distinguished by a logo on the glassines. Cintron allegedly sold the heroin to Britt either in the Bronx or in Brooklyn. According to the complaints, Britt then distributed the drugs at Williams’s direction, using a network of street dealers under their control, as well as a number of redistributors operating in upstate counties and other locations in the metropolitan area. The street dealers are accused of selling the heroin to customers in several Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Brownsville, Bushwick, Flatbush, Fort Greene, and East New York. Many of the transactions took place in the vicinity of the Brownsville Recreation Center on Linden Boulevard.
Britt and Tyrone Munford allegedly collected proceeds from the ring’s sales on a regular basis and transferred them to Williams. Leezet Kelley is accused of assisting Williams with the subsequent management of the funds and other administrative tasks the operation required.
Search warrants that were executed yesterday led to the recovery of six firearms, over $185,000 in cash, approximately two kilos of heroin and additional 13,667 glassines. Five additional individuals were arrested during the execution of the search warrants.
The investigation was conducted by Detective Brian Depalo of the New York City Police Department’s Brooklyn North Narcotics, under the supervision of Lieutenant Cassandra Whitaker and Sergeant Claudio Ramirez, and the overall supervision of Inspector Miguel Iglesias, Commanding Officer of Brooklyn North Narcotics and Deputy Chief Michael Kemper, Commanding Officer of Detective Borough Brooklyn North.
KCDA staff from the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit and the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture and Crimes Against Revenue Bureau assisted in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Batsidis and Assistant District Attorney Robert Basso, of the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Blank, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
- James “Fly” Williams, 65, of Jamaica Estates, Queens
- Jeffrey Britt (“Doobie”), 34, of Flatlands, Brooklyn
- Richard Rivera (“Cristiano”), 45, of Tremont, Bronx
- Hanziel Martinez Cintron (“Johnny”), 39, of Belmont, Bronx
- Marlon Campbell (“M”), 58, of East New York, Brooklyn
- Leezet (“Baby Girl”) Kelley, 45, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn
- LaToya Mark, 37, of Flatlands, Brooklyn
- Maurice McGhee (“MoJo”), 49, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
- Charles Moore (“Light”), 57, of Bushwick, Brooklyn
- Charles Morgan (“Rav”), 61, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
- Tyrone Munford (“Mo”), 55, of East New York, Brooklyn
- Michael Rosoboro (“Mike Mike”), 61, of East New York, Brooklyn
- James Williams, 36, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn