For Immediate Release
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Jose Alvarez for 1999 Murder
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and John B. DeVito, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), announced the unsealing of a superseding Indictment charging JOSE ALVAREZ, a/k/a “Ignacio Alvarez,” with the 1999 murder of Jose Miguel Mendez. ALVAREZ was previously arrested in the Dominican Republic and was extradited to the Southern District of New York last Friday. He was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker yesterday and detained. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged, Jose Alvarez participated in the heinous robbery and murder of Jose Miguel Mendez. Alvarez was extradited from the Dominican Republic and now faces charges in a U.S. court for this terrible crime.”
Special Agent in Charge John B. DeVito said: “Jose Alvarez is alleged to have participated in a crime of violence and murder of Jose Miguel Mendez approximately 20 years ago. Through the diligent and steadfast efforts of ATF agents working alongside our state, local, and federal partners, he will be before a judge and finally face justice for his crimes. I would like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for their work in prosecuting this case.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment, and statements made in court filings and during court proceedings:
ALVAREZ, along with other individuals, planned to rob and kill Jose Miguel Mendez to obtain money to invest in a drug robbery in Puerto Rico. On the night of the robbery and murder, ALVAREZ and his co-conspirators ambushed Mendez inside an apartment in the Bronx, where they restrained him with duct tape, burned him, and questioned him. Ultimately, ALVAREZ and one of his co-conspirators took Mendez to a location in Upper Manhattan, where Mendez was shot in the head, resulting in his death.
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ALVAREZ, 54, of the Dominican Republic, is charged with one count of causing the death of another through the use of a firearm in connection with a crime of violence and a drug trafficking crime, and aiding and abetting the same, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and maximum sentence of life in prison; and one count of killing another, and aiding and abetting the same, while engaged in drug trafficking, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and maximum sentence of life in prison. The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the excellent work of the ATF, the New York City Police Department, and the Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Berman also thanked Dominican authorities, the Office of International Affairs of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and the United States Marshals Service for their assistance.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Krissoff and Michael Maimin are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.