James J. Hunt, the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James P. O’Neill, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (NYPD), and George P. Beach II, the Superintendent of the New York State Police (NYSP), have announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging 14 members of a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that sold large amounts of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine in and around the Bronx, New York.
A total of 11 defendants were taken into custody today; three remain at large.
During the arrests and execution of various search warrants yesterday, law enforcement officers recovered a significant amount of currency, as well as firearms and narcotics.
The 11 defendants who were arrested were presented and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman yesterday.
The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood. An initial conference is scheduled for September 12, 2017.
“The alleged crimes committed by this organization show the inescapable connection between drug trafficking and violence,” said Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt.
“This organization allegedly ran rampant throughout New York City, distributing kilogram quantities of cocaine and heroin.”
“Allegedly supplying drugs to other trafficking organizations throughout the Northeast, they made a profit by feeding on others’ drug addiction.”
“Today, we charge 14 members of a drug trafficking organization allegedly responsible for trafficking large amounts of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine in the Bronx,” added Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim.
“As alleged, this case demonstrates the close connection between drug dealing and gun crimes.”
“We remain committed, along with our partners at the DEA, NYPD, and the New York State Police, to ridding New York’s neighborhoods of drug trafficking.”
“I am proud of the dedicated efforts of our members and law enforcement partners which resulted in the indictments of these individuals, seizures of drugs and firearms, and the end of this organization’s alleged operations,” State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II.
“New York State will not tolerate the sale of these drugs, or the violent crimes that are associated with narcotics distribution.”
“This sends a strong message of our dedication to clearing our communities of these dangerous substances.”
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and other documents in the public record, and statements made in court:
Between August 2016 and August 2017, the following defendants conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of heroin, five kilograms and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of cocaine, and 280 grams and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of crack cocaine in the Bronx and elsewhere.
Furthermore, the defendants used and possessed, or aided and abetted each other in using and possessing, firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking crimes.
The defendants listed in the indictment are:
- Gabriel Guillen, aka “Toti”
- Edward Jimenez, aka “Buzzy”
- Zoraida Ramirez
- Wilson Guillen
- Joel Tapia, aka “Emelio Vasquez”
- Matthew Vasquez, aka “Cabeza”
- Yeison Saldana, aka “Jay”
- Jason Llanes, aka “Jay Murder”
- Gabriel Carrion, aka “Gaby”
- Moises Suero
- Richard Jose, aka “Kiki”
- Jhoan Pichardo, aka “Flaco”
- Rafael Rodriguez, aka “Rafi,” and
- Carlos Perez, aka “Los”
The defendants are each charged as follows:
- One count of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute one kilogram and more of heroin, five kilograms and more of cocaine, and 280 grams and more of crack cocaine, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and
- One count relating to the use and possession of firearms during and in relation to their drug trafficking crimes, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.
The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge
Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of the DEA, the NYPD, and the State Police, and thanked the United States Marshals Service, U.S. Probation, and the NYPD Narcotics Bureau Bronx for their assistance.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica Fender and Margaret Graham are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.