FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Eleven Defendants Charged with Conspiring to Traffick Narcotics Following Undercover Investigation into Lucrative Ring Operating in
Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island and Gerritsen Beach
Operation Allegedly Took in Approximately $17,000 a Week
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill today announced that 11 people have been indicted in connection with a narcotics trafficking ring that operated primarily in southern Brooklyn, selling cocaine and heroin, including heroin mixed with fentanyl.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This indictment reflects our continuing commitment to fighting the burgeoning scourge of opioid addiction that is spreading to too many of our neighborhoods. These drug dealers profit from the misery of addiction, selling dangerous drugs while destroying lives and futures. Thanks to the hard work of the NYPD and prosecutors from our office, we will now seek to hold them accountable for their criminal actions.”
Commissioner O’Neill said, “As alleged, these individuals fueled the supply of narcotics in areas of Brooklyn through their drug trafficking operation, while they ignored the welfare of the communities they operated in and profited from. I commend the NYPD investigators and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office prosecutors whose hard work resulted in holding these persons accountable for their criminal actions.”
It is alleged that over the course of the investigation, from June 6, 2017 to January 20, 2018, the narcotics ring, which was allegedly led by defendant Jorge Valerio, operated primarily in southern Brooklyn, in Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island and Gerritsen Beach, but extended to Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Staten Island, selling quantities of cocaine and heroin (which was packaged in distinctive blue and white checkered pattern glassines) ranging from approximately $100 to up to $7,000 at a time. Heroin purchased during the undercover operation included samples that tested positive for the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is much more potent and deadly than heroin, although it was being sold as heroin.
Furthermore, according to the investigation, the ring operated seven days a week, from morning through evening, taking orders by telephone and delivering narcotics in face to face transactions. It is alleged that the defendants who delivered the narcotics to customers shared a single cell phone that was switched from person to person depending on who was on call. The ring allegedly took in approximately $17,000 a week during the course of the operation.
The defendants, who were arrested this morning, were arraigned this afternoon before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William M. Harrington on a 273-count indictment in which they are all charged with second-degree conspiracy, a B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Valerio, the alleged ringleader, is charged with operating as a major trafficker, an A-I felony and is facing up to 30 years in prison. He and the other defendants are variously charged with second-and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; and third-, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. They were ordered to return to court on March 23, 2018.
The NYPD executed search warrants in connection with the case this morning and estimated they recovered almost $500,000 in cash and approximately 1½ kilos of heroin and ½ kilo of cocaine.
The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Detectives Dudley Ewald and Agapito Solar of Narcotics Borough Brooklyn South, Major Case Unit, under the supervision of Sergeant Khamra Singh, Lieutenant Christopher Ward, Deputy Inspector John Lewis and the overall supervision of Inspector Michael Cody.
NYPD Investigator Paulette Simpson, Lieutenant Matthew Spano and Captain Matthew Zuss, Commanding Officer of the Kings County District Attorney’s NYPD Squad assisted in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Gillian DiPietro, Elizabeth Kowell and Joy Kieras, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Cilia, VCE Deputy Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, VCE Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
- Jorge Valerio, 35, of Coney Island, Brooklyn.
- Michael Almonte, 37, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
- Ernest Deschamps, 27, of Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
- Kevin Suriel, 24, of Coney Island, Brooklyn.
- Gabrielle Fermin, 27, of Staten Island.
- Baby Amanda Suriel, 23, of Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
- Joel Raymond Salas, 31, of Midwood, Brooklyn.
- Mehdi Elyamine, 28, of Coney Island, Brooklyn.
- Manuela Nunez, 39, of East New York, Brooklyn.
- Nyrell Nunez, 20, of East New York, Brooklyn.
- Luis Perez, 33, of Staten Island.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.