For Immediate Release
14 Defendants Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Narcotics Distribution And Firearms Possession In The Bronx And Yonkers, And Four Defendants With Armed Commercial Robberies In The Bronx And Manhattan
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), Ashan M. Benedict, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), and James J. Hunt, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging 14 defendants with participation in narcotics and firearms offenses in the Bronx and Yonkers. The Indictment also charges four of these defendants with participating in robberies of commercial establishments in the Bronx and Manhattan, and three of these defendants for participating in firearms trafficking.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, the defendants arrested today plagued the Bronx and Yonkers with drug dealing, guns, and commercial robberies. Thanks to the outstanding and cooperative efforts of the ATF, NYPD, and DEA, the defendants’ rash of alleged crimes has been brought to an end.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “The 14 defendants in this case face drug and gun charges after a multi-year investigation into the heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana trade in the Bronx and Yonkers. Four of the defendants are charged in connection with armed robberies in the Bronx and Manhattan and three are accused of firearms trafficking. Our neighborhoods are safer with these people – and the drugs and guns – off of our streets. I want to thank the US Attorney for the Southern District, Preet Bharara, Ashan Benedict, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the ATF, James Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the DEA, and the members of the NYPD for their contributions to this investigation.”
ATF SAC Ashan M. Benedict said: “Today’s indictment demonstrates the dangerous intersection between firearms trafficking, narcotics trafficking, the illicit possession and use of firearms, and violent crime. These defendants allegedly engaged in an alphabet soup of criminal activity, spreading poison, fear, and violence in their wake. Thanks to the outstanding work of the Special Agents, Detectives, and prosecutors involved in this investigation, they will now face well-deserved justice for their alleged actions. I would like to extend my gratitude to the members of ATF, DEA, NYPD, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their hard work and collaboration in putting a stop to these individuals.”
DEA SAC James J. Hunt said: “As alleged, a violent drug crew has been taken off the streets today. For years, they allegedly acted like outlaws; selling drugs, brandishing guns and robbing businesses like they were in a time warped Wild West movie. But reality hit them today when they were arrested and brought to court.”
The Indictment charges 10 defendants with participating in a narcotics conspiracy based in the vicinity of Decatur Avenue and East 194th and 195th Streets in the Bronx, New York. Specifically, the following defendants – RENE RUIZ, a/k/a “Lil’ Rene,” a/k/a “Nae Nae,” WILFREDO GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Alfredo Gonzalez,” a/k/a “Freddy,” DOMINGO RAMOS, a/k/a “Mingo,” JASON POLANCO, a/k/a “Jin,” AMAR AHMED, a/k/a “Omar,” a/k/a “O,” ZAIE ESCRIBANO, a/k/a “Zaieto,” a/k/a “Z,” JAIME GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Jimbo,” JORDAN MCDONALD, a/k/a “Umi,” EDWARD NELSON, a/k/a “Boo,” a/k/a “Bugatti,” and CHRISTOPHER CORREA, a/k/a “Chris” – are charged with conspiring to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, heroin, crack cocaine, and marijuana from about 2011 up to about early 2017. Eight of these defendants are also charged with using, carrying, and possessing firearms during the narcotics conspiracy.
The Indictment also charges seven defendants with participating in a narcotics conspiracy that operated in the Bronx and in Yonkers. Specifically, the following defendants – DOMINGO RAMOS, a/k/a “Mingo,” CARLOS OSORIO-PEREZ, a/k/a “C,” DENNIS POMALES, a/k/a “D,” JORDAN MCDONALD, a/k/a “Umi,” CHRISTOPHER CORREA, a/k/a “Chris,” MARK FERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Mark,” and WILLIAM RUSSELL, a/k/a “Billy” – are charged with conspiring to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine from about 2011 up to about early 2017. Four of these defendants are also charged with using, carrying, and possessing firearms during the narcotics conspiracy.
The Indictment also charges four defendants – JASON POLANCO, a/k/a “Jin,” WILFREDO GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Alfredo Gonzalez,” a/k/a “Freddy,” AMAR AHMED, a/k/a “Omar,” a/k/a “O,” and ZAIE ESCRIBANO, a/k/a “Zaieto,” a/k/a “Z” – with conspiring to rob the proceeds of commercial establishments in the Bronx and Manhattan, from about 2014 up to about January 1, 2015. Three of these defendants are also charged with committing the robbery of a pizzeria in the vicinity of Jerome Avenue and East 179th Street in the Bronx, on or about October 31, 2014. All four defendants are also charged with committing the robbery of a gas station in the vicinity of Pelham Parkway South and Boston Road in the Bronx, on or about November 24, 2014. In addition, all four defendants are charged with the use, carrying, and possession of firearms during and in relation to the robbery conspiracy and the November 2014 gas station robbery, during which a firearm was brandished and discharged.
Finally, the Indictment charges three defendants – WILFREDO GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Alfredo Gonzalez,” a/k/a “Freddy,” AMAR AHMED, a/k/a “Omar,” a/k/a “O,” and ZAIE ESCRIBANO, a/k/a “Zaieto,” a/k/a “Z” – with the unlawful trafficking of firearms from in or about 2014 through in or about 2015.
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Of the 14 defendants named in the Indictment, six were taken into custody in a sweep jointly conducted by the NYPD, ATF, and DEA, beginning last night in the Bronx and Yonkers (RAMOS, AHMED, OSORIO-PEREZ, POMALES, CORREA, and FERNANDEZ). The defendants who were taken into custody will be presented and arraigned in Manhattan federal court this afternoon before Magistrate Judge James L. Cott. Five defendants are presently detained in either state or federal custody on unrelated charges, and are being brought into federal custody on writs (RUIZ, POLANCO, ESCRIBANO, JAIME GONZALEZ, and MCDONALD). Three defendants remain at large (WILFREDO GONZALEZ, NELSON, and RUSSELL). The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain.
Mr. Bharara thanked the Westchester County Police Department and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in the investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit and its White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justina L. Geraci, Jordan L. Estes, Christopher J. Clore, and Amanda L. Houle are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.