Twenty-Two Defendants Named in Two Separate Indictments For Operating Heroin and Cocaine Trafficking Rings in Williamsburg

 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.

DEFENDANT ADDENDUM: 

  1. Juan Acevedo, dob: 10-24-89, 184 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  2. Christopher Rodriguez, dob: 9-12-91, 258 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  3. Santo Heredia, dob: 4-9-1993, 160 1st Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  4. Geraldine Collado, dob: 9-25-1988, 50 North 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  5. Tevin Gonzalez, dob: 11-21-1991, 393 Hewes Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  6. Britny Bermudez, dob: 6-5-1996, 247 South 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  7. Samuel Gutierrez, dob: 9-7-1998, 932 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.
  8. Jose Araujo, dob: 9-28-1986, 329 Lexington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.
  9. Radames Lopez, dob: 10-23-1986, 28 Fleet Walk, Brooklyn, NY.
  10. Armando Baez, dob: 3-18-1998, 393 South 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  11. Joshua Bisono, dob: 9-28-1990, 392 South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  12. Jesse Bisono, dob: 6-29-1994, 392 South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  13. Juan Perez, dob:2-26-1998, 50 North 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  14. Adonis Aracena, dob: 11-1-1994, 392 South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  15. Noah Aranzamendi, dob: 8-25-1998, 35 Jackson Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  16. Francisco Candelier, dob: 5-6-1998, 160 South 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  17. Frederick Feliz, dob: 3-25-1994, 374 South 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  18. Dioni Vasquez, dob: 3-24-1990, 366 South 1st Street, Brooklyn, NY.

DEFENDANT ADDENDUM:

  1. Gabriel Mason, dob: 11-5-91, 129 Ten Eyck Walk, Brooklyn, NY.
  2. Juan Pedraza, dob: 12-12-69, 417 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  3. Juan Pedraza Jr., dob: 5-30-91, 417 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY.
  4. Benjamin Vasquez, dob: 11-13-70, 391 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY.

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

 

DA Vance and DA Thompson Announce Indictment of Seven Individuals for Stealing Heating Oil from Brooklyn Terminal

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

 

DA Vance and DA Thompson Announce Indictment of Seven Individuals for Stealing Heating Oil from Brooklyn Terminal

Indictment Follows Longterm Investigation by Manhattan DA’s Office’s Rackets Bureau and Partners into Widespread Fraud in Heating Oil Industry

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced the indictment of seven individuals in connection with the theft of heating oil valued at approximately $500,000 from a terminal in Brooklyn. The defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees. The Brooklyn indictment was filed in connection with a related investigation into industry fraud and criminal charges announced last year by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, New York City Police Department Organized Crime Investigation Division (“OCID”), New York City Business Integrity Commission (“BIC”), New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”), New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said: “More than 50 individuals and nine companies working in an around the City’s heating oil industry have now been indicted in connection with this alleged widespread fraud. In the case announced last fall, the defendants were charged with profiting from the sale of heating oil stolen from residential and municipal buildings. Today’s indictment represents a continuation of that investigation, as well as my Office and our partners’ commitment to rooting out fraud in this industry. The heating oil industry should now be on notice to clean up its act.”

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said: “These defendants are charged with running a scheme to systematically steal heating oil from a Brooklyn terminal to enrich themselves and we intend to now hold them accountable. I would like to commend DA Vance for his efforts to eradicate fraud in this industry all across the city. We will continue to work together with his office and other law enforcement partners to make sure that larceny is investigated and prosecuted wherever it occurs.” 

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, between January and July 2014, the defendants facilitated the theft of hundreds of thousands of gallons of heating oil, valued at approximately $500,000, from Buckeye Partners, L.P. (“Buckeye”), which owns and operates an oil terminal located at 722 Court Street in Brooklyn. During this period, SCOTT VITELLO, 39, managed the terminal, and with the assistance of BART DiCARLO, 26, a terminal operator, VITELLO allowed unauthorized individuals and tanker trucks to pull into the loading racks, fill the tanks with heating oil, and leave the Buckeye terminal with stolen product, which was sold by VITELLO and DiCARLO at a fraction of the retail cost.

ANGELO GUADAGNO, 51, acted as a broker who negotiated prices, scheduled pick-up times, and made arrangements for ALEXANDER COCCHIOLA, 57, the owner of Cypress Fuel, and PAUL CILIENTO, 37, the owner of Boomerang Trucking, to steal heating oil from the Buckeye terminal. PETER D’ARCO, 65, the owner of SJ Fuel, and FREDERICK DeCICCO, 48, a driver for MDC Services, also worked directly with VITELLO and DiCARLO to coordinate unauthorized pick-ups.

In an attempt to cover the theft, VITELLO and DiCARLO dismantled counters that track the number of gallons dispensed at the loading racks and changed the positioning of several security cameras at the terminal. In total, unauthorized trucks were allowed to enter the terminal more than 50 times and load stolen oil, often during late evening or early morning hours.

Previously, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Rackets Bureau presented evidence to a grand jury that voted to indict nine companies and 44 individuals in connection with various schemes to defraud customers by shorting heating oil deliveries to residential, commercial, and municipal properties throughout New York City. The indicted heating oil transportation and retail companies include: F&S DISTRIBUTION, INC., G&D PETROLEUM TRANSPORTATION, INC., G&D HEATING OIL INC., CASANOVA FUEL OIL, INC., EXPRESS PETROLEUM, INC., 4th AVENUE TRANSPORT, INC., ALL-BORO TRANSPORTATION, INC., ENTERPRISE TRANSPORTATION, INC., and CENTURY STAR FUEL CORP. The indicted individuals also include the principal owners of the indicted companies, three fuel depot dispatchers, and 29 truck drivers charged with taking part in the theft, resale, and purchase of stolen heating oil.

DOI and BIC also issued a detailed report on fraudulent schemes employed by delivery companies in order to help consumers protect themselves from fraud.

The following members of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office contributed to the investigation and case: Assistant District Attorney Anne Ternes, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorneys Jerrold Steigman and Thomas Mooney, Senior Investigative Counsel to the Rackets Bureau, and under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Ohm, Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Judy Salwen, Principal Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Jodie Kane, Chief of the Rackets Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Additional assistance was provided by: Paralegals Kyle Tramonte, Lauren Riddell, Paul Lee, Alexandra Oviedo, and former Paralegal Zoe Egelman; Transcription Analyst Olivia Sitbon; Senior Financial Investigator Daniel McNichol; and former Senior Investigative Counsel Richard Buckheit.

The case is being supervised by Assistant District Attorneys Rebecca Gibson and Felice Sontupe of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the overall supervision of William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division.

District Attorneys Vance and Thompson thanked the following agencies and individuals for their assistance and cooperation with the investigation: NYPD, and in particular, Detectives William Martin and Biagio Santangelo, as well as the NYPD OCID-BIC team; BIC, and in particular, Deputy Commissioner of Investigations Christopher Mahon and Investigator Dominick Albergo; and Buckeye Partners, L.P..

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An Indictment is merely an accusation and not proof of the defendants’ guilt.

 

Defendant Information:

PAUL CILIENTO, D.O.B. 8/29/1978
Staten Island, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

 

ALEXANDER COCCHIOLA, D.O.B. 2/8/1959
Staten Island, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

 

PETER D’ARCO, D.O.B. 7/4/1950
Staten Island, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

 

FREDERICK DeCICCO, D.O.B. 7/27/1967
Staten Island, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

 

BART A. DiCARLO, D.O.B. 9/15/1989
Staten Island, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 3 counts
  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count 

 

ANGELO GUADAGNO, D.O.B. 6/5/1964
Staten Island, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 2 counts

 

SCOTT VITELLO, D.O.B. 6/24/1976
Lauderhill, FL

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 3 counts
  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

 

 

East New York Man and Woman Indicted For Trafficking Firearms

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

 

East New York Man and Woman Indicted For Trafficking Firearms

Thirty Guns Purchased During Course of Year Long Operation

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced that an East New York man and woman have been arraigned on a 124-count indictment for allegedly selling 30 firearms, including six assault weapons, to undercover officers during the course of a year-long investigation.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This investigation is another example of our unrelenting commitment to keep the people of Brooklyn safe by taking illegal guns off our streets.  All of these guns, which included assault rifles and a sawed off shotgun, could have wreaked havoc in our communities.  I commend the brave undercover officers and the dedicated prosecutors in my office who helped us bring this important case.”

Commissioner Bratton said, “The NYPD is committed to rooting out those responsible for putting illegal guns on to the streets of New York City. Thirty firearms were seized in this investigation, preventing their use in future crimes and tragedies. I commend the work of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the undercover officers whose hard work resulted in these arrests and indictments.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Ricardo Rivero, 34, of 666 Dumont Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn and Constance Guity, 45, of 529 Miller Street, in East New York, Brooklyn. The defendants have been variously charged with first-, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a firearm, second-, third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest. Guity was arraigned this morning before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun and ordered held on $500,000 bail. Rivero is being held on $1 million bail after being arrested on a criminal complaint and will be arraigned on the indictment next week.

The District Attorney said the investigation included undercover police officers making multiple purchases of weapons in the vicinity of Wyona Street and Dumont Avenue, Dumont and Pennsylvania Avenues and Dumont and New Jersey Avenues, in East New York, Brooklyn.

The District Attorney said that beginning in January 2015 and continuing through January 2016, undercover police officers allegedly made multiple gun purchases from Rivero, who was allegedly accompanied by Guity on four occasions, usually carrying the firearms in her handbag. The defendants allegedly sold between one and four firearms on each occasion. In addition, Rivero is charged with possessing cocaine at the time of his arrest and Guity is charged with possessing crack cocaine at the time of her arrest, as well as resisting arrest.

The District Attorney said that the defendants allegedly sold a wide variety of firearms to the undercover, including: .32 caliber Beretta pistol, .380 Bersa pistol, 12 gauge Stevens sawed off shotgun, .38 Colt revolver, 9mm Taurus pistol, 9mm Makarov pistol, 9mm Ruger LC9 pistol, 9mm Jimenez Arms pistol, .22 caliber Jennings Firearms pistol, .22 caliber Taurus pistol, .38 Colt revolver, 9mm Cobray Industries pistol, .380 Smith and Wesson pistol, .380 Keltec pistol, .32 Keltec pistol, .25 caliber Phoenix Arms pistol, .223 Riger mini-14 assault rifle, .22 caliber Chiappa Firearms pistol, Norinco SKS cut down assault rifle, Norinco SKS assault rifle, .22 Supershot revolver, .22 Smith and Wesson revolver, Saiga 7.62mm assault rifle, .22 caliber Tanfoglio revolver, defaced PT92 9mm Taurus pistol,  9mm Springfield Armory pistol, .40 Smith and Wesson Hi Point assault rifle, .380 Davis Industries pistol, .44 Taurus revolver, and .380 Cobra pistol.

The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective Ted Wendling, of the NYPD’s Firearms Investigation Unit, under the supervision of Lieutenant Michael Jennings, and the overall supervision of Deputy Inspector Brian Gill.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Murphy, 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, and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.

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

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Brutally Attacking Pregnant Ex-Girlfriend, Causing Death of Unborn Child

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Brutally Attacking Pregnant Ex-Girlfriend,
Causing Death of Unborn Child

Faces Up to 33 Years in Prison

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Brooklyn man has been found guilty of brutally attacking his ex-girlfriend, who was almost seven months pregnant, resulting in the death of her unborn child.

District Attorney Thompson said, “After researching online whether punching a pregnant woman in the stomach can cause a miscarriage, this defendant ambushed and repeatedly punched his pregnant ex-girlfriend in her stomach so savagely that she became unconscious, needed two blood transfusions and eventually lost her baby. We will now seek the maximum sentence that this coward truly deserves.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Torey Branch, 35, of 1414 Bergen Street, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. The defendant was found guilty today of first-degree abortion, first-degree burglary and third-degree assault following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alexander B. Jeong. The defendant faces up to 33 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 1, 2016.

According to trial testimony, the defendant and victim had a nine-year relationship during which time the victim became pregnant. The defendant expressed that he did not want a child and became angry at the victim’s decision to follow through with the pregnancy.

On March 28, 2014, the victim and defendant agreed to meet at the victim’s Brooklyn residence. At approximately 1:15 p.m., as the victim entered into her apartment building, surveillance video shows she was followed inside by two masked men, one of whom has not been apprehended. Once inside, the two masked men choked and punched the victim about the head and body and then repeatedly hit the victim’s pregnant stomach, eventually knocking the victim unconscious.

According to trial testimony, the victim identified one of the masked men as the defendant when she heard him say “move, move” during the attack and recognized his voice. The victim was hit approximately 22 times and suffered severe injuries including an orbital fracture. Her unborn child died in utero a few hours after the attack.

A search of the defendant’s cell phone, according to testimony, revealed approximately 51 incriminating online searches including “can being hit in the stomach cause a miscarriage” and “what happens if you punch a pregnant woman in the stomach.” The searches occurred between January 19, 2014 and March 9, 2014 — approximately three weeks prior to the attack.

The case was investigated by Detective Kenneth Anderson of the New York City Police Department’s 75th Precinct.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Joanna Lettieri, of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Edward Purce, Deputy Bureau Chief and under the overall supervision of Michelle Kaminsky, Bureau Chief.

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NYPD Officer Convicted Of Manslaughter for Shooting Unarmed and Innocent Man in Building Staircase

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 11, 2016

 

NYPD Officer Convicted Of Manslaughter for Shooting
Unarmed and Innocent Man in Building Staircase

Ignored Police Training, Recklessly Fired His Gun and Then Failed to Aid Victim

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a New York City police officer, Peter Liang, has been convicted of second-degree manslaughter and official misconduct for fatally shooting an innocent and unarmed man – Akai Gurley – in the staircase of a Brooklyn building in November 2014. After recklessly firing his service weapon and striking Gurley, 28, the officer failed to immediately report the incident or render aid to the dying victim.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Today’s verdict represents justice for Akai Gurley who was totally innocent when he was shot and killed that night. This defendant ignored official training that he received as a police officer – specifically never to put his finger on the trigger of his gun unless he was ready to shoot and his reckless actions cost Akai Gurley his life – a life that Peter Liang had sworn to protect. It’s also important to note that this jury’s verdict was against one officer and not against all of the brave and dedicated members of the NYPD who risk their lives every day to keep us safe.”

The defendant Liang, 28, of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, was convicted today of second-degree manslaughter and official misconduct following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. He faces a minimum sentence of unconditional discharge and a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 14, 2016.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on November 20, 2014, the defendant and his partner were on foot patrol inside 2724 Linden Boulevard, a building in the Louis Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn. At about 11:14 p.m., the defendant pulled out his service revolver and pushed open a door that leads into a darkened stairwell on the 8th floor. He fired his gun once after he heard a sound and the bullet ricocheted off a wall, striking near where Gurley was standing in the chest, as the victim entered the 7th floor landing at the same time.

The evidence established that Gurley was totally innocent and unarmed and that Officer Liang was not under any threat that should have caused him to place his finger on the trigger of his gun and fire it. Therefore, there was no justification for the shooting. Specifically, the evidence showed that the defendant’s actions were contrary to what he learned in the Police Academy regarding gun safety and contrary to the NYPD’s Firearms Guidelines, which instructs that “if the firearm must be drawn the trigger finger should be placed outside the trigger guard and pointed in a safe direction.” The defendant had to exert 11½ pounds of pressure to fire his gun, which was fitted with a trigger that required more force to operate than a regular gun to avoid an accidental discharge, according to testimony.

After the shooting, the defendant failed to immediately report the incident, contrary to the NYPD Patrol Guide, the evidence showed. While the victim’s friend was trying to save him by performing CPR, with the help of a neighbor who was on the phone with a 911 operator, the defendant first argued with his partner about who would radio in the incident and later failed to render any medical aid, also in violation of the Patrol Guide. He “did nothing,” according to witness testimony.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner, Chief of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Alexis, Chief of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau, Red Zone, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Ann Bordley of the District Attorney’s Appeals Bureau, under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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Three Men Sentenced for Kidnapping, Robbery in Greenpoint

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 11, 2016

 

Three Men Sentenced for Kidnapping, Robbery in Greenpoint

Victim Tortured With Blow Torch, Forced to Reveal Where He Kept His Money

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that three men have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for kidnapping and subsequently robbing two men in Greenpoint. The defendants tortured one of the men with a blowtorch on his thighs and genitals and put out lit cigarettes on his face and neck to force him to tell them where he kept his cash.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These three defendants not only blindfolded and kidnapped the victims but also subjected them to brutal acts of terror and even torture with a blow torch. Such depraved acts of violence – all done for money – were cruel and simply inhumane and led to the lengthy prison sentences that they each got.” 

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Francisco Graham, 39, of 6523 Windsor Street, Philadelphia, PA; Clarence Davis, 40, of 4703 Brentwood Road, Fredericksburg, Virginia; and Abdul Lopez, 23, of 70 Lenox Street, Brooklyn, NY.  Davis and Lopez were sentenced today to determinate terms of 13 years and 15 years in prison, respectively, following their guilty plea on January 20, 2016 to first-degree robbery. Graham was sentenced on February 5, 2016 to an indeterminate term of 15 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree kidnapping on January 20, 2016. All three defendants were sentenced by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Ingram.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on December 13, 2013 at approximately 5 p.m., Angelo Gonzalez and Jerry Tavarez were walking along Greenpoint Avenue when they were suddenly ambushed by the defendants. Displaying firearms and police shields, the defendants identified themselves as Drug Enforcement Administration agents, handcuffed the victims and threw them into a van.

The victims were driven to a location in Queens, blindfolded and held in separate basement rooms. Gonzalez was stripped of his pants and underwear and tortured with a blow torch on his inner thighs and genitals. The defendants also extinguished lit cigarettes on his face, neck and body as loud Christmas music played in the background, drowning out the his cries for help.

Gonzalez then told the defendants that he kept a stash of cash at home and gave them his home address and the alarm code for entry. Held overnight and under additional duress, he also told the defendants about a safety deposit box where kept more money.  The defendants then, with Gonzalez in tow, proceeded to drive towards the victim’s Williamsburg home and instructed the victim to have his girlfriend deliver the deposit box key directly to the van. The victim’s girlfriend, utilizing the ‘Find My Phone’ application, alerted the police to her boyfriend’s location. Detectives arrived at the location and arrested the defendants. The second victim was later released.

A search of the home where the victims were kept led to the discovery of a fake badge and a firearm. The basement floor was covered in tarps, and a blowtorch, cigarette butts and a hacksaw were recovered.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Jamie Begley, formerly of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau- Grey Zone, and Assistant District Attorney Holly Serrette, also of the Grey Zone, under the supervision of Timothy Gough, Bureau Chief.

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Serial Killer Convicted of Murdering Three Brooklyn Shopkeepers

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 10, 2016

 

Serial Killer Convicted of Murdering Three Brooklyn Shopkeepers

Used Same Rifle in Each Homicide, Linked to Crimes by Physical and Forensic Evidence;
Faces a Sentence of 75 Years to Life in Prison

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Staten Island salesman has been convicted of three counts of second-degree murder for the shooting deaths of three Brooklyn shopkeepers who were killed in separate incidents during the summer and fall of 2012. The defendant used the same rifle in all three murders and was linked to them through matching shell casings that were left in all crime scenes, through DNA and through other forensic evidence.

District Attorney Thompson said, “A mountain of evidence connected this serial killer to these murders, which took the lives of three decent, honest and hard-working business owners who all left behind devastated families. Thankfully, this ruthless and cold-blooded killer will now spend the rest of his life locked behind bars and Brooklyn will be much safer because of that.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Salvatore Perrone, 67, of 1173 Clove Road in Staten Island. He was convicted today of three counts of second-degree murder following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus. The defendant will be sentenced on March 4, 2016, at which time he faces a maximum sentence of 75 years to life in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 6, 2012, the defendant shot Mohamed Gebeli, 65, once in the neck, killing him, inside the victim’s store Valentino Fashion, located at 7718 Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. On August 2, 2012 the defendant shot Isaac Kadare, 59, once in the head and then slit his throat inside the victim’s Amazing 99 Cents Deals store at 1877 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. On November 16, 2012 the defendant fatally shot Rahmatollah Vahidipour, 78, in the head, face and chest inside the victim’s She-She Boutique at 834 Flatbush Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

After the third homicide, a photo of the defendant carrying a black duffle bag in the vicinity of the third crime scene was distributed to the media and he was arrested on November 21, 2012. A search at his girlfriend’s home led to the recovery of the duffle bag. In it, police discovered a .22-caliber rifle that was registered to the defendant and was used in all three murders, according to ballistic analysis of shell casings that were left at the three crime scenes, the evidence showed. The bag also contained a knife with blood that matched Mr. Kadare. Blood stains that matched Mr. Vahidipour were found on the bag itself.

Furthermore, the defendant’s fingerprints and DNA were recovered from the murder weapon, according to testimony. Cell phone data and surveillance videos placed him in the vicinity of the second and third homicides, the evidence showed. All three victims were killed around their stores’ closing time and their bodies were covered with clothes or other items in an apparent attempt to conceal the murders.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Melissa Carvajal, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Chief.

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Charges Upgraded in Airplane Gun Trafficking Case; Superseding Indictment Charges Aggravated Enterprise Corruption, Carries Penalty of Up to Life in Prison

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 10, 2016

 

Charges Upgraded in Airplane Gun Trafficking Case;
Superseding Indictment Charges Aggravated Enterprise Corruption,
Carries Penalty of Up to Life in Prison

Second Delta Air Lines Employee Charged in New Indictment

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced the filing of a 657-count superseding indictment charging three defendants who allegedly trafficked guns – including flying them to New York from Georgia on commercial flights – with aggravated enterprise corruption, which is the first time that the statute has been used in the entire state and carries a penalty of up to life in prison.

A total of four defendants were previously charged in the case for allegedly conspiring to sell 153 firearms, almost all of which were purchased in Georgia and destined for the streets of Brooklyn. One of those defendants is a former Delta Air Lines employee who allegedly carried backpacks and carry-on baggage full of guns and ammunition on commercial flights from Atlanta to New York on nearly 20 occasions. A second Delta employee, a ramp agent, has been charged in the new indictment with helping to smuggle the weapons on the planes for a fee.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Upon further investigation and review upgraded charges are appropriate in this case, which exposed a gaping hole in our airport and national security. These defendants, due to the very serious nature of the charges, now face life in prison under aggravated enterprise corruption.”

Commissioner Bratton said, “The subversion of a commercial airline for the purpose of trafficking illegal firearms is an egregious betrayal of the public’s trust. These defendants were intercepted through a coordinated investigation on the part of my detectives in the Firearms Investigations Unit, along with our federal and local partners. I commend the work of these investigators, particularly the undercover officers involved, who did not hesitate to go into harm’s way in order to hold these individuals accountable for their alleged criminal acts.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Eugene Harvey, 32, of 4635 Greenspring Road, College Park, Georgia; Mark Henry, 46, of 535 East 79th Street, in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and 1987 Tiffany Lane, Jonesboro, Georgia; Ernest Leneau, 55, of 632 East 94th Street, in Canarsie, Brooklyn; Adrian Alleyne, 25, of 9029 Farragut Road, in Canarsie, Brooklyn; and Grayling Smith, 52, of 1608 Prospect Place, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and 4339 Persian Court, in Snellville, Georgia. Harvey was arraigned on Monday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun and ordered held without bail. Leneau and Smith were arraigned today before Justice Chun. Leneau was held without bail and Smith was held on $700,000 bond or $350,000 cash bail. Henry and Alleyne, who were previously remanded, will be arraigned next week. All of the defendants were ordered to return to court on February 10, 2016.

The District Attorney said that the indictment is the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the NYPD and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office between May 2014 and December 2014, during which time the defendants conspired to sell weapons purchased in Georgia to an NYPD undercover detective in Brooklyn. The weapons ranged from compact AR-15 and AK-47 assault weapons to 9mm handguns to Glock pistols. Approximately 153 guns were recovered during the investigation.

The District Attorney said that, the superseding indictment charges a total of five defendants – of the five, four are charged with enterprise corruption (a B felony, punishable by up to 25 years) and three are additionally charged with aggravated enterprise corruption (an A-I felony punishable by up to life in prison). Those three defendants are Henry, Leneau and Harvey, who during the time of the alleged trafficking worked as a Delta ramp agent. He was arrested in Georgia last week and brought to Brooklyn to be arraigned on the charges. The other four defendants had been previously charged with conspiracy and other charges in December 2014 and were arraigned on the new indictment today. The aggravated enterprise corruption statute went into effect in 2013 and this indictment is the first time it is being used in Brooklyn.

The indictment charges that the firearms trafficking enterprise had an ascertainable structure that was distinct from the pattern of criminal activity in that each participant had a specialized role within the enterprise. The enterprise was comprised of buyers, distributors, sellers and security access coordinators, all of whom contributed to the possession and sale of illegal firearms in Brooklyn.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, Mark Henry made 17 trips between New York airports and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, in Atlanta, Georgia, between May 8, 2014, and December 10, 2014. It is alleged that he purchased most of the guns through a website, www.theoutdoorstrader.com, purchasing between 10 and 20 guns at a time, picking them up from sellers in and around Atlanta, Georgia, and then flying to New York with them on the plane. Defendant Ernest Leneau then allegedly took the guns and sold them to an undercover detective.

During the course of the investigation it was discovered that Henry, whose mother is a retired Delta employee, traveled back and forth between Georgia and New York for a nominal fee by using his mother’s employee privileges, which allowed him to take unlimited flights for life. Additionally, Henry worked for Delta as a ramp agent between 2007 and 2010.

It is alleged that Harvey transported firearms into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport via an employee entrance, using his employee access to smuggle firearms obtained for eventual sale in Brooklyn into secure areas of the airport, circumventing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) protocols.

It is alleged that Henry met Harvey at home or outside the airport and gave him the guns to carry past security. On other occasions, it is alleged, that Harvey left his car unlocked so that Henry could leave firearms inside Harvey’s car the night before Henry planned to fly to New York. Harvey would then drive the firearms to the airport, bypass security and give them to Henry at pre-arranged meeting spots inside the airport after Henry had cleared security.

It is further alleged that defendant Adrian Alleyne purchased guns from Leneau and sold them to an undercover detective, and that defendant Grayling Smith supplied two firearms to Leneau, who later sold them to a different undercover detective.

The defendants are charged in a 657-count indictment with various offenses including aggravated enterprise corruption, an A-I felony punishable by up to life in prison; enterprise corruption, a B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison; conspiracy, manufacture, transport, disposition and defacement of weapons and dangerous instruments and appliances, first-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison; first-degree criminal sale of a firearm, a B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison; second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison; and criminal possession of a firearm, an E felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

The District Attorney thanked Delta Air Lines and the Transportation Security Administration for its assistance in this investigation.

The District Attorney thanked R.L. “Rusty” Edwards, Assistant Federal Security Director, Transportation Security Administration and George Taylor, John O’Dwyer and Pam Fears, of Delta Air Lines Corporate Security, for their assistance in this investigation.

The investigation was conducted by Detectives Jarrett Lemieux, Erik Hirsch and Daniel Grandstaff, of the New York City Police Department’s Firearms Investigations Unit, under the supervision of Lieutenant Michael Jennings, Captain Robert Van Houten and Deputy Inspector Brian Gill, and the overall supervision of Chief Thomas Purtell, of the Organized Crime Control Bureau.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tara Lenich, Deputy Chief for Special Investigations, Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau (“VCE”), and VCE Assistant District Attorneys Deirdre Moskowitz and Nicholas Hernandez, under the supervision of VCE Bureau Chief Nicole Chavis, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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

 

Bronx Man Sentenced to 18 Years to Life in Prison for Killing Brooklyn Woman, Disposing of Her Body

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 10, 2016

 

Bronx Man Sentenced to 18 Years to Life in Prison for
Killing Brooklyn Woman, Disposing of Her Body

Choked Victim, Cut off Her Fingertips,
Placed Body in Laundry Bag and Dumped it in Canarsie Pier

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 35-year-old Bronx man was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison for fatally choking a Brooklyn woman and stealing her money. The defendant cut off the victim’s fingertips, threw the body off of the Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn and used the victim’s banking cards to withdraw cash and make purchases in stores and fast food restaurants.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This horrific murder was made even worse by this defendant’s barbaric mutilation and subsequent dumping of the victim’s body into Jamaica Bay.  Such sadistic acts show that the defendant is simply unfit to remain in society and deserves every day of the 18-year prison sentence that he will now serve.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Charles Wright, 35, of 1627 Fulton Avenue in the Bronx. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Gary to 18 years to life in prison following his guilty plea on January 25, 2016 to second-degree murder and two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 25, 2014, the defendant got into an argument with Shaniqua Davis, 32, inside an apartment at 775 Blake Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn. He strangled the victim, used a knife to cut off her fingertips, tied her hands and feet, stuffed the body inside a large brown laundry bag, put her in the back of her car, drove her to the Canarsie Pier and threw her in the water. The body was found on a tidal island in Jamaica Bay inside the laundry bag on August 4, 2014.

The evidence showed that after killing the victim, the defendant used her ATM card to withdraw $141.50 from a grocery store across the street from her home. He also used her credit card to make purchases at a gas station, a Family Dollar store and Wendy’s and Burger King restaurants.

The defendant’s girlfriend Tamanika Evens, 39, who helped him dispose of the body, pleaded guilty to first-degree hindering prosecution and fourth-degree grand larceny on December 3, 2015, and is expected to be sentenced next month to two to six years in prison.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sara Kurtzberg, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Chief.

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Brooklyn Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Fatally Shooting Rival in the Head

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 9, 2016

 

Brooklyn Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Fatally Shooting Rival in the Head

Captured on High Definition Video Surveillance; Will Be Sentenced to 20 Years to Life

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 24-year-old Brooklyn man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for fatally shooting a man in Flatbush, Brooklyn, killing him. The defendant will be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison as a result of the plea.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant was caught on tape shooting and killing another man in broad daylight.  He will now go to prison for a long time because we will not allow gang members like this to commit senseless violence on our streets.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Avon Simmons, 24, of 2505 Bedford Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Martin Murphy, who indicated he will sentence the defendant to 20 years to life in prison on March 2, 2016.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on August 13, 2014 at 8:30 a.m., the defendant fired multiple shots at Prinso Ulysse, 26, who was standing outside of 2149 Cortelyou Road in Flatbush, Brooklyn. A bullet struck the side of the victim’s head and he suffered extensive hemorrhaging and swelling to the brain. He died in Kings County Hospital on September 3, 2014.

The shooting was captured on high definition surveillance video that clearly showed the defendant stepping into the roadway, firing a gun at the victim, who was on the sidewalk, and then walking away. The defendant is a member of the G-Stone Crips gang and likely targeted the victim in retaliation for a past incident in which the defendant’s brother was shot.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Patrick O’Connor of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Nicole Chavis, Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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