Twenty-Five Defendants Named in 368-Count Indictment For Operating Heroin Trafficking Ring; Williamsburg Man, His Mother and Siblings among Those Charged


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, September 17, 2015

 

Twenty-Five Defendants Named in 368-Count Indictment
For Operating Heroin Trafficking Ring;
Williamsburg Man, His Mother and Siblings among Those Charged

Alleged Distribution and Sales of More Than $1.5 Million a Year,
Including to a Court Employee Who Acted As Staten Island Supplier

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced that 25 defendants, including a Williamsburg man and a Midtown Community Court employee, have been variously charged in a 368-count indictment with conspiracy, sale and possession of a controlled substance and money laundering.

District Attorney Thompson said, “There’s a growing heroin epidemic in New York and other parts of the country that’s taking the lives of many of our young people hooked on this deadly and highly-addictive drug. We must deal with this quiet drug plague by going after those who peddle this poison in our communities. The indictment of these 25 defendants, who include a court employee, an aspiring drug counselor, a 24-year-old man, his mother, sister, brother and two cousins, shows our determination to prevent any more families from being destroyed by heroin.”

Commissioner Bratton said, “The epidemic of heroin use continues to destroy the lives of countless individuals and their families. As alleged, the persons responsible for this heroin trafficking ring operated a network comprised of family and associates to distribute this deadly drug. But thanks to the investigators of the Brooklyn North Gang Squad and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, this criminal operation has been dismantled.”

The District Attorney said that the investigation was conducted using electronic, video and physical surveillance, and that the indictment charges that between January 2015 and this month the defendants conspired to possess and sell heroin in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan. It is alleged that Josie Tavera, 25, of Williamsburg, was at the nexus of the distribution ring, and that several of his family members helped him flood the streets of Brooklyn and the rest of New York City with heroin sold under various brands including “Knockout,” “Takeover,” “Power Hour,” “Killing Time,” “Pure,” “Gucci,” and “Scorpion.”

In addition to Tavera’s family, it is alleged, two other key defendants are Jason Collazo, 36, and Michael Mineo, 37, both of Staten Island. Collazo, who works in the Midtown Manhattan Community Court as a community service supervisor, allegedly used the Court’s phone to coordinate heroin transactions, purchased heroin from Tavera, and distributed it to several individuals in Brooklyn and Staten Island, including Mineo, who has studied substance abuse at the College of Staten Island and has identified himself to police as a drug counselor.

Specifically, according to the investigation, it is alleged that much of the drug-related activity occurred in and around Tavera’s Driggs Avenue apartment. Several people allegedly supplied Tavera with heroin, including his brother, Jose Taveras, and Jose Sosa. Tavera, in turn, supplied a number of individuals with a large quantity of heroin to be resold, including defendants Collazo, Adam Almodovar and Pablo Soto.

One of Tavera’s biggest customers is alleged to be Collazo, who directed defendants Jonathan Cruz and Albert Alvarez, who acted as couriers, to pick up heroin from Tavera and bring it back to Collazo’s Staten Island home. He in turn allegedly sold it to his largest Staten Island customer, Michael Mineo, who in turn allegedly sold it to his customers there.

In addition to receiving the heroin from his brother, Tavera’s other family members are also accused of participating in the ring, including his sister, Sheila Taveras, a.k.a., Tavera, 26, of Jamaica, Queens, who allegedly packaged, delivered and distributed heroin; his cousin, Gustavo Taveras, 27, of Bushwick, Brooklyn, who allegedly supplied him with heroin as well as purchased heroin from him; another cousin, Christian Rodriguez, 24, of the Bronx, who allegedly supplied him with heroin; and Tavera’s mother, Haydee Cordero, 46, of Williamsburg, who is accused of money laundering for allegedly depositing proceeds from heroin sales into her bank account to disguise the origin of the funds.

Of the 25 defendants, 22 were arrested yesterday and two others are already in custody on other charges. Most of the defendants were arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen. The outstanding defendant is being actively sought by the NYPD.    All of the defendants are charged with second-degree conspiracy, which is a B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. They are variously charged with first-, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; first-, second-, third-, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree money laundering.

Furthermore, 16 additional defendants, who were allegedly customers and couriers, were arrested during the course of the investigation at which time a ½ kilo of heroin and a ½ ounce of cocaine were recovered.

The District Attorney thanked the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office for their assistance during this investigation.

The case was investigated by Detective Michael Scoloveno and Sergeant Michael Lennihan of the New York City Police Department’s Gang Squad Brooklyn North, under the supervision of Captain Stephen Espinoza, Deputy Chief Kevin Catalina, Commanding Officer of the Gang Division and the overall supervision of Chief Thomas Purtell, Commanding Officer of the Organized Crime Control Bureau.

Assistant District Attorneys Jason Goldberg and James Slattery of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau are prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Jonathan R. Sennett and Tara Lenich, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and 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.

DEFENDANT ADDENDUM: 

  1. Josie Tavera (Fresh), 24, of 778 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn.
  2. Sheila Taveras, 26, of 778 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn.
  3. Haydee Cordero, 46, of 778 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn.
  4. Geovanny Fabian (Pancho), 34, of 209 South 1st Street, Brooklyn.
  5. Adam Almodovar, 30, of 286 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn.
  6. Julian Soto (Gordo), 24, of 367 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn.
  7. Pablo Soto, 22, of 367 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn.
  8. Steven Alvarez, 30, of 571 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn.
  9. Johnny Tejada (Big J), 25, of 541 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn.
  10. Rebecca Rolon, 24, of 22 Lewis Avenue, Brooklyn.
  11. Gustavo Taveras, 27, of 1201 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn.
  12. Lawrence Harrell, 27, of 130 Clymer Street, Brooklyn.
  13. Gandin Matos (Geets), 30, of 233 Bay 7th Street, Brooklyn.
  14. Wilfredo Payano, 33, of 323 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn.
  15. Walter Simms, 24, of 56 Marcus Garvey Boulevard, Brooklyn.
  16. Luis Soto, 25, of 220 Throop Avenue, Brooklyn.
  17. Javier Herrera, 27, of 1151 Glenmore Avenue, Brooklyn.
  18. Jonathan Cruz (Pete the Cat), 35, of 121 Wilson Street, Brooklyn.
  19. Michael Mineo (Nevada), 37, of 272 Timber Ridge Drive, Staten Island.
  20. Jason Collazo (Papo), 36, of 99 Foch Avenue, Staten Island.
  21. Albert Alvarez, 29, of 320 Brookfield Avenue, Staten Island.
  22. Jose Taveras (Champ), 26, of 175 Lauren Court, Jamaica, Queens.
  23. Christian Rodriguez (Handsome), 24, of 84-43 60th Avenue, Middle Village, Queens.
  24. Jose Sosa, 25, of 62-04 Elliot Avenue, Middle Village, Queens.
  25. Sheila Rodriguez (Shay), 29, of 17 Chester Avenue, Congers, New York.

 

#

 

    An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Rape and Assault of Former Girlfriend He Held Captive for Three Days



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Rape and Assault of
Former Girlfriend He Held Captive for Three Days

Victim Was Hogtied, Beaten and Tortured With Her 2-Year-Old Daughter in the Next Room

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 31-year-old man was convicted of kidnapping, raping and torturing his former girlfriend for three straight days, with their 2-year-old daughter present at the apartment for most of that time. The defendant kept the victim cuffed for the entire ordeal, beat her with a dumbbell, cut her feet, shaved off her hair and sexually assaulted her repeatedly until a neighbor called police.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant is a monster. He mercilessly tortured a defenseless woman and would have probably killed her if he wasn’t stopped. We intend to ask for the maximum sentence so he will spend the rest of his life in a prison cell where he belongs.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Alex Anselmo, 31, of 71 Grand Avenue, in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. He was convicted today of all 17 charges he faced, including first-degree kidnapping, first-degree rape, first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, criminal possession of a weapon, aggravated criminal contempt and related counts, following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Ingram. The defendant will be sentenced on October 1, 2015, at which time he faces up to 50 years to life in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, the 31-year-old victim broke up with the defendant, with whom she has two daughters, in the spring of 2012, and he became increasingly obsessive. After learning via Facebook that she met another man and was planning to move to Florida, he grew more incensed, the evidence showed, contacting her in violation of an order of protection taken against him in 2012 after he assaulted the victim.

On April 1, 2013, Anselmo pushed his way into the victim’s Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment. He punched her and handcuffed her to the bed, where she remained tied for most of the following three days. The defendant raped and sodomized her each day, used a knife to cut her feet, severing a tendon, and beat her with a dumbbell and an extension cord. He threatened to shoot her with a gun, stuffed a sock in her mouth and used clippers to cut off all of her hair. The victim suffered 50 wounds to her body and feet.

The 2-year-old girl was forced to stay in the living room for most of the ordeal. She was released by the defendant hours before police arrived. A neighbor called 911 on April 3, 2013 after getting concerned, listening through the door and hearing the cocking of a gun. When police officers from the Emergency Services Unit broke down the door, they found the victim tied to the bed in a formal dress she was forced to wear earlier that day, according to testimony. A revolver was recovered in the apartment.

The District Attorney said that evidence presented at trial showed that the defendant took a cell phone photo of the woman’s stab wound during the crime, which was deleted but later recovered. It also showed that two days prior to the incident he conducted web searches on how many Xanax pills are needed to cause a death and on how to sterilize a woman.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Brooke Cohen of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Audra Beerman, Deputy Bureau Chief, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michelle Kaminsky, Bureau Chief.

 

#

School Construction Authority Contractor Pleads Guilty in Connection With Stealing $45,000 in Purported Employee Wages and Benefits, Underreporting Income on City Tax Filings



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

 

School Construction Authority Contractor Pleads Guilty in Connection
With Stealing $45,000 in Purported Employee Wages and Benefits,
Underreporting Income on City Tax Filings

Defendant Agrees To Pay $500,000 in Taxes and Penalties, $45,000 Restitution

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters, today announced that the owner of a security firm that contracted with the New York City School Construction Authority to provide security guards at school construction sites pleaded guilty in connection with stealing approximately $45,000 in purported wages and benefits and underreporting income on New York City tax filings.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Instead of paying his employees the stated wages under the contract, the defendant shorted his workers and pocketed the difference, and cheated the City out of $500,000 on top of that. He will now be held accountable for his criminal conduct. ”

Commissioner Peters said, “This contractor cheated the School Construction Authority of tens of thousands of dollars by falsifying his payroll records and then underreported his income to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in City tax funds. He now stands convicted of these serious crimes and, just as important, the City will recoup these stolen funds.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Toyin Sobanke, 54, of 6658 Avenue M, in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn and his corporation, Tiger Security Group, Inc., which is located at the same address. Sobanke and his corporation each pleaded guilty today to one count of second-degree scheme to defraud and one count of second-degree criminal tax fraud before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew Sciarrino.

As a condition of the plea, Sobanke and Tiger Security agreed to pay $45,368.14 restitution to the School Construction Authority. They also agreed to pay $500,000 in taxes and penalties to the New York City Department of Finance for underreporting income in 2009 and 2010, and failing to file a return for 2012.

The District Attorney said that, according to the guilty plea, between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2013, the NYC SCA paid Tiger Security more than $10 million for security guard services on construction projects at New York City public schools, including P.S. 10 in Park Slope, P.S. 95 in Gravesend and I.S. 78 in Bergen Beach, all in Brooklyn.

From June 29, 2011 to February 10, 2013, defendants Sobanke and Tiger Security falsely stated on invoices and certifications of payroll and daily sign-out logs on multiple construction projects that they paid seven employees up to $17.41 per hour in wages and benefits for regular time and up to $23.84 per hour in overtime, when in fact they actually paid the seven employees between $8 and $10 per hour without any overtime or benefits.

The District Attorney further said that, according to the guilty plea, the defendants underreported their gross income by more than $600,000 in 2009, by more than $1 million in 2010 and did not file any returns in 2012. As a result, it owes approximately $500,000 in New York City General Corporation Tax.

The case was investigated by NYC SCA Office of the Inspector General Investigators William O’Brien and Lee Callier and Investigative Accountant Ray Dowd, under the supervision of NYC SCA Inspector General Maria Mostajo, who report to the NYC Department of Investigation. It was additionally investigated by Financial Investigator Veronica Beltran of the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture and Tax Crimes Bureau.

The District Attorney thanked the Department of Finance for its assistance in this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Meredith McGowan, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Labor Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Felice Sontupe,  Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Gregory P. Mitchel, Chief of the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture and Tax Crimes Bureau, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

#

Schumer, Thompson Demand TSA Require All Airports Develop Comprehensive Screening Process For All Employees

SCHUMER: DA THOMPSON’S RECENT BUST OF ATLANTA-NY GUN SMUGGLING RING EXPOSES GAPING & DANGEROUS LOOPHOLE IN NEW YORK – AND NATIONAL AIRPORT SECURITY, ALLOWING ERRANT AIRLINE EMPLOYEES TO SMUGGLE GUNS, DRUGS & EXPLOSIVES ONTO PLANES – AMAZINGLY, MOST EMPLOYEES ARE EXEMPT FROM GOING THROUGH METAL DETECTORS;

Lack of Physical Security Checks Allowed Gun Running Ring to Board Nearly 20 Flights Undetected In 2014 Alone, Smuggling Over 150 Firearms Straight to NY Streets – Schumer, Thompson Call For Action to Protect Against Potential Acts of Terrorism, Future Crime

While Pilots & Flight Crew Must Pass Through Metal Detectors Each Day, Employees Who Clean & Repair Planes, Load Luggage & Work In Terminals Past Security Check Points Do Not; Schumer, Thompson Say TSA Must Require Airports to Upgrade Unique Airport Security Plans to Include Physical Screening– Astoundingly, this is Not Currently a Requirement

Schumer: Millions of Gov’t Employees in Courthouses, the Pentagon & Federal Offices Pass Through Metal Detectors Each Day – Errant Airport Employees With the Potential to Perpetrate Acts of Terror on Airplanes Should Be Physically Screened As Well

In the wake of D.A. Ken Thompson’s exposure of a highly disturbing gun running scheme, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to immediately implement a national requirement that all airports physically screen airline and airport employees each day before they enter secured areas of airports. Currently, pilots and flight crew pass through metal detectors, but amazingly, most employees that repair and clean planes, load luggage, and work in the terminal post-security checkpoints are exempt from this physically screening. Schumer and Thompson said this gaping and dangerous loophole in airport security plans allowed an expansive gun running scheme to smuggle 153 firearms into New York, when a former Delta Airlines employee carried backpacks and carry-on baggage full of guns and ammunition on nearly twenty commercial flights in 2014 from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to New York. Four men have been charged by Thompson for allegedly conspiring to sell these firearms, destined for the streets of Brooklyn. After Thompson notified federal authorities, a fifth man was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia with a firearms trafficking offense and violating airport security requirements. Schumer said that like airplane passengers, flight crews and millions of private and government employees in courthouses and elsewhere, all commercial airport employees should be physically screened before entering secure areas, as a requirement of each airport’s unique Airport Security Plan (ASP). While Schumer made clear that while the vast majority of airline employees are honest, upstanding citizens, it takes one person to exploit the system and smuggle guns, or worse, explosives onto a plane and cause huge damage.

“When guns, drugs, and even explosives are as easy to carry on board a plane as a neck pillow, then we have to seriously – and immediately – overhaul our airport security practices,” said Senator Schumer. “In this day and age of terrorism, rampant drug dealing and gun smuggling, we just can’t be too careful. DA Thompson’s groundbreaking investigation underscores that clearly, the TSA should require all airline employees to be physically screened each day before entering secure airport areas. The vast majority of airline employees are good, hard-working people, however, in order to limit the chance of weapons and other dangerous contraband from making it into our overhead compartments, all airline employees should pass through metal detectors.”

“The ease by which airport employees are able to smuggle weapons and other contraband onto our commercial airliners is troubling and warrants immediate scrutiny and inspection,” said District Attorney Thompson. “Our investigation, in cooperation with the NYPD and our federal law enforcement partners, identified gaping holes in our nation’s airport security. In this age of terrorism, basic protections such as screening airport employees, is critical to the safety of our country. Moreover, these loaded weapons were intended for the streets of New York where they could have been used to kill our residents or police officers. The majority of airport personnel are good, hardworking employees but there are bad apples in every workplace. By screening everyone – not just passengers and flight crews – TSA will be able to identify and remove offending employees before they have the opportunity to spoil the whole apple cart.”

According to DA Thompson’s groundbreaking investigation, defendant Mark Henry made 17 trips between New York airports and Atlanta, Georgia between May 8, 2014 and December 10, 2014. Mark Henry worked as a Delta ramp agent between 2007 and 2010 so he was aware of weaknesses in the system. He would pass weapons to Eugene Harvey, who was working as a Delta ramp agent, outside of the airport. Mark Henry then proceeded through security to the boarding areas. Eugene Harvey was not required to go through security at Hartsdale’s Atlanta airport, so he simply took the bags of weapons through the employee entrances and into the secure areas of the airport. Once Mark Henry cleared security, Eugene Harvey would go inside the airport and allegedly give him back the guns in exchange for cash.

Schumer explained that each airport has a unique Airport Security Plan (ASP), which is developed in conjunction with the TSA to fit that specific facility’s layout, size, number of entrances, number of employees and other unique factors. Nationwide, there are very few, if any, airports that require airport employees, like those working in post-security terminals at gates, on the tarmac and ramps and at vendors, to pass through metal detectors before work each day. Schumer explained that astoundingly, in the recent bust by DA Thompson, it seems the two defendants did not break a single airport rule in terms of airport screening. Atlanta’s airport’s ASP did not require physical screening of employees before entering secured areas, which demonstrates a need for serious security overhauls nationwide. At New York area airports, employees are physically screened in some cases but not in every instance – the rules vary by employee and terminal.

According to DA Thompson’s groundbreaking investigation, defendant Mark Henry made 17 trips between New York airports and Atlanta, Georgia between May 8, 2014 and December 10, 2014. Mark Henry worked as a Delta ramp agent between 2007 and 2010 so he was aware of weaknesses in the system. He would pass weapons to Eugene Harvey, who was working as a Delta ramp agent, outside of the airport. Mark Henry then proceeded through security to the boarding areas. Eugene Harvey was not required to go through security at Hartsdale’s Atlanta airport, so he simply took the bags of weapons through the employee entrances and into the secure areas of the airport. Once Mark Henry cleared security, Eugene Harvey would go inside the airport and allegedly give him back the guns in exchange for cash.
Schumer explained that each airport has a unique Airport Security Plan (ASP), which is developed in conjunction with the TSA to fit that specific facility’s layout, size, number of entrances, number of employees and other unique factors. Nationwide, there are very few, if any, airports that require airport employees, like those working in post-security terminals at gates, on the tarmac and ramps and at vendors, to pass through metal detectors before work each day. Schumer explained that astoundingly, in the recent bust by DA Thompson, it seems the two defendants did not break a single airport rule in terms of airport screening. Atlanta’s airport’s ASP did not require physical screening of employees before entering secured areas, which demonstrates a need for serious security overhauls nationwide. At New York area airports, employees are physically screened in some cases but not in every instance – the rules vary by employee and terminal.

Ironically, the TSA does require that flight crew and pilots be screened, and Schumer and Thompson said that there is no reason that other employees aren’t physically screened as well. Schumer and Thompson did highlight the important fact that the TSA does currently require an employee’s background to be screened before they are hired, and the TSA continues to check whether those employees are added to the terrorist watch list daily. But, the lawmakers noted that given the recent arrests, these security steps are insufficient on their own.

Schumer today said that the TSA must implement a national requirement that all airline employees be physically screened as part of an airport’s Airport Security Plan. Schumer today said that each airport can determine the most cost-effective and efficient ways to screen each employee, whether it be at existing employee screening lines for flight crew, or by placing new metal detectors at other employee entrances. Regardless of the method, anyone entering the secure airport areas should be screened, whether they are an employee or a passenger, Schumer and Thompson said.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to TSA Director Pistole appears below:


 

Dear Director Pistole,

Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our nation and the traveling public safe. I’m sure you were as alarmed as I was to hear the news, following a case brought by Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, that an airline worker smuggled dangerous, sometimes loaded, weapons and ammunition through the Atlanta airport and onto planes destined for New York City.

The investigation by DA Thompson has determined that this gun-smuggling ring operated without impediment for almost six months. Fundamental to their scheme was the lack of airline employee physical screening that allowed an airline employee to carry numerous lethal weapons into the theoretically secure passenger boarding area, where they were handed off to a passenger who brought them aboard a plane as carry-on luggage. This lack of physical screening of employees is not limited to Atlanta; in fact, once most employees submit to background checks and security threat assessments, they are cleared for access to secure areas in airports across the country. One can easily imagine terrorists employing similar techniques to the Atlanta criminals, in order to get loaded weapons onto planes, and this is simply an unacceptable risk. The security breaches that occurred at Hartsfield-Jackson
Atlanta National Airport are a frightening wake-up call that must be heeded with all due speed. Thankfully, this employee and his co-conspirators have been arrested, but this incident has exposed a gaping loophole in airport security that must be promptly addressed and eliminated. As head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), I ask that you implement a national requirement that airline employees go through physical screening each and every time they enter the secure areas of an airport.

Each and every airport nationwide should be required to develop a comprehensive physical screening procedure for employees as soon as possible. Though I realize this may seem to be a burden to some, we know well from prior tragedies that
security is of paramount importance. The 9-11 attacks on New York City and other parts of the country were tragic examples of what can happen when security breaches occur in airports, and we must do everything in our power to prevent similar tragedies. Under your leadership, the TSA has done an admirable job of screening all the passengers on airlines, providing background screening of employees at airports, and developing physical security plans at every airport. DA Thompson’s case has revealed that we must do a little bit more: everyone entering an airport should be subject to physical screening, regardless of whether they are a passenger or employee.

Thank you, and I look forward to working with you on this important issue.

Brooklyn Man Convicted Of Manslaughter In Fatal Crash That Left Newlywed Couple and Their Premature Infant Dead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 20, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted Of Manslaughter In Fatal Crash That Left Newlywed Couple and Their Premature Infant Dead

Jury Found Defendant Acted Recklessly in Speeding on Williamsburg Streets, Crashing Into Livery Cab in Which Couple Was Riding

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 46-year-old Brooklyn man has been convicted of second-degree manslaughter and other charges in connection with a fatal incident in Williamsburg in 2013 when he crashed his vehicle into a livery cab in which a young couple was riding, then fled the scene.

The District Attorney said, “A beautiful innocent family lost their lives because Julio Acevedo chose to drive recklessly on the streets of Brooklyn. This was a tragedy. Almost two years later we were able to get justice. We are grateful to the jury for following the evidence and holding Julio Acevedo accountable.”

The District Attorney said that the defendant, Julio Acevedo, 46, of Brooklyn, was convicted last night of two counts of second-degree manslaughter, one count of criminally negligent homicide and two counts of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog, who set sentencing for March 18, 2015. The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison on the top count, but could face up to life in prison because of his prior criminal history.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, at approximately 12:15 a.m., on March 3, 2013, Acevedo, who was driving a BMW, was traveling at approximately 70 miles per hour northbound on Kent Avenue when he crashed into a livery cab traveling westbound on Wilson Avenue, being driven by Pedro Nunez-Delacruz. The livery cab was easing into the intersection after passing a stop sign when it was struck. Backseat passengers Nathan Glauber, 21, and his wife, Raizy, also 21, who was seven-months pregnant, were killed. Their son, Tanchem, was delivered alive, but died the next day. The cab driver suffered minor injuries.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, Acevedo jumped out of his car after crashing into the livery cab, observed the carnage and then fled the scene. He was arrested by the New York City Police Department’s Warrant Squad in Pennsylvania on March 7, 2013.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Gayle M. Dampf, Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Chief of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Bureau.

 

 

 

Indictment of New York City Police Officer Peter Liang

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Statement of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson Regarding Indictment of New York City Police Officer Peter Liang For The Death Of Akai Gurley

Shortly after the tragic death of Akai Gurley in a stairwell of the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn, I promised to conduct a full and fair investigation to get to the bottom of what happened that night. I can now report that the District Attorney’s Office has completed a thorough investigation into this matter.

Our investigation was led by veteran prosecutors, Marc J. Fliedner, Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau and Joseph Alexis, Chief of the Red Zone Trial Bureau, and Ann Bordley, Senior Appellate Counsel, of the Appeals Bureau.

As a result of the investigation a grand jury has returned a six-count indictment charging New York City Police Department Officer Peter Liang with one count of second-degree manslaughter, one count of criminally negligent homicide, one count of second-degree assault, one count of reckless endangerment and two counts of official misconduct.

Officer Liang was arraigned earlier this afternoon before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun and released without bail. The top count of the indictment carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.

NYPD Officers bravely put their lives on the line every day in service to New York. At no time was this more evident than when several officers responded to a shooting at the Pink Houses. As they always do, Officers rushed in 2724 Linden Boulevard to assist. When the Officers saw Mr. Gurley, they immediately dropped to their knees and attempted to render aid to save Mr. Gurley’s life.

In addition to Assistant District Attorneys Fliedner and Alexis, I extend my gratitude to all of the other Assistant District Attorneys and Detective Investigators on my staff who worked so hard on this case so that the judicial process could be conducted fairly. I am also grateful for the invaluable assistance provided by the the New York City Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office.

Four Brooklyn Residents Indicted In Connection With Kidnapping

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 2, 2015

 

Four Brooklyn Residents Indicted In Connection With Kidnapping
And Promoting Prostitution of Two 13-Year-Old Girls

Defendants Allegedly Kept Victims in Bedford-Stuyvesant Apartment

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton today announced that four people have been named in a 32-count indictment in connection with the 2014 kidnapping of two 13-year-old girls who they hoped to lure into prostitution.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These defendants are accused of disgraceful actions involving young girls who should be protected, not exploited, by men who should know better. Few crimes are as dehumanizing and degrading as prostitution. Luckily, the young girls who were abducted are now safe and their abusers will now face justice.”

Commissioner Bratton said, “The sexual exploitation of children affects not only the victim and their family, but society as a whole. Thanks to the work of the NYPD investigators and our law enforcement partners at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, these alleged abductors will now answer for their actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Marcus Sumpter, 25, Joann Bailey, 55 and Jerry Brown, 57. All of the defendants reside at 463 Classon Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. A fourth defendant is being sought. The defendants were arraigned Friday afternoon before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which they are variously charged with first- and second-degree kidnapping, second- and third-degree promoting prostitution, second- and third-degree rape, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree criminal facilitation and endangering the welfare of a child. Sumpter was ordered held without bail, Bailey’s bail was set at $100,000 cash or $50,000 bond and Brown’s bail was set at $50,000 cash or $25,000 bond. The defendants were ordered to return to court on April 22, 2015. The top count carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on August 30, 2014, the two 13-year-old girls, who were on their way home from a party, met defendant Sumpter in the

vicinity of the Franklin Avenue train station. They accompanied him back to his apartment, on Classon Avenue, where he had sex with them.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the girls left the apartment the next day, but Sumpter followed them to the train station and asked them to come back to his apartment. He allegedly told them they could make money working as prostitutes. They went back to the apartment and another defendant allegedly took scantily clad photos of them and attempted to post their pictures on craigslist.

The District Attorney added that, according to the investigation, a concerned relative texted one of the teens and allegedly received a text in return stating: “Want a date?” from one of the defendants, who had taken control of the girls’ phones. The relative then replied, “Yes” and asked for the price and the location. He went to the apartment, paid for the alleged services and retrieved the girl. The other girl was subsequently found by her relatives and removed from the premises.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Detectives Anayansi Parris and Adrian Campos of the NYPD’s VICE Enforcement Squad, under the supervision of Sergeant Gregory Graves and Lieutenant Marcus Morales, and the overall supervision of Deputy Inspector Anthony Favale.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Danit Almog, of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Laura J. Neubauer, Chief of the Human Trafficking Unit, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Coleen Balbert, Chief of the District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Bureau.

#

An indictment is an accusation and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Murder in Quadruple Shooting During Basketball Tournament at Marcy Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 5, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Murder in Quadruple Shooting During Basketball Tournament at Marcy Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Defendant Also Convicted of Shooting and Injuring Three Others in Gang Dispute

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 21-year-old man has been convicted of second-degree murder and other charges for a gang-related shooting that left an 18-year-old boy dead and a 15-year-old and two 13-year-old boys injured. The defendant faces 25 years to life in prison on the top count when he is sentenced later this month.

District Attorney Thompson said, “When this defendant pulled out a gun and opened fire during that youth basketball tournament at the Marcy Houses, he turned what should’ve been a festive event into a scene of senseless violence that left an 18-year-old dead and a 13-year-old partially paralyzed. He will now go to prison where he belongs and may spend the next 25 years thinking about how he ruined so many young lives unnecessarily, including his own.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Brandon Reese, 21, of Brooklyn. He was convicted yesterday afternoon of one count of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault, one count of first-degree attempted assault, one count of second-degree assault, one count of second-degree attempted assault, one count of first-degree reckless endangerment, and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Sheryl Parker. The defendant will be sentenced on March 18, 2015, at which time he faces 25 years to life in prison on the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 6, 2013, at approximately 6:30 p.m., at the Marcy Houses, located at 472 Marcy Avenue, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, during a basketball tournament two rival crews engaged in a dispute which ultimately resulted in a shooting.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, a number of gang members from Bushwick Houses, who belong to a crew named Young Stackers (YS), were hanging out in front of Marcy Houses. A member of Stack Money Goonz (SMG) walked by and realized that one of the YS’s had previously pulled a gun on him. He then called his older brother, the defendant, Brandon Reese, for back-up.

The District Attorney further said that, according to trial testimony, after an argument ensued between his brother and the YS kids, the defendant pulled his gun from his waistband and fired approximately nine shots. Mario Lopez was shot approximately eight times and pronounced dead later that evening. Three others were injured: A 13-year-old shot in the neck with the bullet exiting his nose was left with permanent partial paralysis of his face; a second 13-year-old was shot in the knee; a 15-year-old was grazed on the hip and suffered minor injuries.

The case was investigated by now retired New York City Police Detective James Tischler and other detectives assigned to the NYPD’s 79th precinct.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Chief of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Iris Das, under the supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of Investigations.

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life in Prison For Shooting Death Of 15-Year-Old Playing Basketball in Flatlands Schoolyard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life in Prison For Shooting Death Of 15-Year-Old Playing Basketball in Flatlands Schoolyard

Defendant Also Shot and Injured 13-Year-Old Boy

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 20-year-old man has been sentenced to 40 years to life in prison following his conviction last month for second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon for the 2011 shootings of a 15-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy in the schoolyard of Public School 119 in Flatlands, causing the death of the older boy.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant opened fire on a crowded schoolyard, killing an innocent teen whose life was just beginning. It’s a miracle that more people weren’t killed. Today’s sentence holds the defendant accountable for his violent actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Vincent Adeyeye, 20, of Brooklyn. He was sentenced yesterday to 40 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Guidice. The judge, who presided over the defendant’s jury trial, sentenced him to 20 years to life on the second-degree murder conviction and a determinate sentence of 20 years on the first-degree assault count, to run consecutive to one another. He also sentenced the defendant to 10 years for the second-degree criminal possession of a weapon count, which he ordered to run concurrent.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 16, 2011, at approximately 7 p.m., at Public School 119, which is located at East 39th Street and Avenue K, in Flatlands, the defendant, who was 16-years-old at the time and a member of the Bloods gang, fired numerous shots into a crowded schoolyard and struck two innocent bystanders. The shooting was allegedly in retaliation for a shooting the night before.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, Dequan Mercurius, 15, who was playing basketball, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the left side of his torso. A 13-year-old boy, who had just purchased an ice cream from a Mr. Softee truck, was shot once in the buttocks and once in the foot, and survived.

The District Attorney further said that, according to trial testimony, the defendant was arrested in October 2012 after his DNA was matched to a firearm left at the scene of the shooting.

The case was investigated by Detective Patrick Henn of the New York City Police Department’s Brooklyn South Homicide Squad and Detective Daniel Callow, formerly of the NYPD’s 63rd Precinct Detective Squad and presently assigned to the Brooklyn South Nightwatch.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Janet Gleeson, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s School Advocacy Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Yvette Creightney, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Colleen D. Babb, Bureau Chief.

 

#

 

Three Queens Men Indicted For Trafficking Firearms and Narcotics


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

 

Three Queens Men Indicted For Trafficking Firearms and Narcotics

Seventeen Handguns Purchased During Course of Two-Month Operation

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced that three men have been arraigned on an indictment for allegedly selling firearms and crack cocaine to undercover officers over two months during an operation in Brooklyn and Queens.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This investigation highlights our continued effort to stop the influx of drugs and firearms into Brooklyn. I commend all of the undercover officers and prosecutors who worked on this case for their dedication to ending gun violence.”

Commissioner Bratton said, “I want to thank the NYPD’s Brooklyn North Narcotics Division and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for working closely together to remove these illegal firearms and narcotics from our streets. We will continue to focus our efforts on public safety and improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Everton Gonzalez, 23, of Ozone Park, Queens, and Omar Cobb, 20, of Arverne, Queens. The defendants have been variously charged with second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, first-degree criminal sale of a firearm, second-degree conspiracy and other related charges. They were arraigned this morning before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. Gonzalez is being held on $500,000 bail and Cobb is being held on $250,000 bail. A third defendant, Zameer Khan, of Arverne, Queens, was arraigned on the indictment last month and is being held on $300,000 bail.

The District Attorney said the investigation included undercover police officers making multiple purchases of weapons and crack cocaine in the vicinity of Liberty Avenue and Drew Street in East New York, Brooklyn, and later, in the vicinity of Beach 59th Street and Larkin Avenue, in Far Rockaway, Queens.

The District Attorney said the investigation began in November 2014, when an undercover police officer allegedly made multiple gun and narcotics purchases from Gonzalez, who later allegedly sent his cousin, Cobb, to deliver the guns. The sales were later made in Queens after Cobb complained that he didn’t have a car and couldn’t get to Brooklyn, instead asking that the undercover travel to Queens to purchase the weapons. It is further alleged that Khan also acted in concert with Cobb in selling weapons and drugs, including selling 60 grams of what was purported to be crack cocaine for $3,500 to an undercover. The alleged drugs later tested negative for narcotics.

The District Attorney said that the defendants allegedly sold a wide variety of firearms to the undercover, including: a .9 mm Mac-11 assault weapon, .22 caliber Walther pistol, a .44 caliber Ruger revolver, a .9 mm Hi-Point pistol, a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, a .357 caliber Ruger revolver, a .40 point caliber Hi-Point pistol, a .38 caliber Taurus revolver, a .38 caliber Armi Fabri pistol, a .9 mm Bryco Arms pistol, a .38 caliber Argentina revolver, and others. The defendants also allegedly sold four ounces of crack cocaine and two ounces of purported crack cocaine to the undercover over the course of multiple purchases.

In addition, in executing multiple search warrants the police recovered a quantity of ammunition, a magazine for a .40 caliber firearm, a holster, forged check, books and records and marijuana.

The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective William Warren, Narcotics Borough Brooklyn North, under the supervision of Lieutenant William Buchanan, and the overall supervision of Inspector Joseph Kenny.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Hanna Karsevar, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Tara Lenich, Deputy Chief for Special Investigations and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, VCE Bureau Chief and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of Investigations.

#

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.