For Immediate Release
New York Field Division – Leader of Violent Drug Crew Pleads Guilty to 2016 Murder of Nelson Dubon
Kenneth Rudge Oversaw Activities of “YNR” Members on Webster Avenue, Including Heroin and Crack Sales, Shootings, and the Murder of a Robbery Victim in January 2016
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, 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 P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the plea by KENNETH RUDGE, of the Bronx, New York, to firearms charges including RUDGE’s use of a firearm in the murder of Nelson Dubon on January 21, 2016.
As part of his guilty plea, RUDGE admitted to shooting and killing Nelson Dubon, a victim of RUDGE’s robbery plot, on Park Avenue near 187th Street at an underground billiards hall, in the course of a narcotics-related robbery. RUDGE further admitted using other firearms in the course of his criminal activities with the YNR drug crew between 2012 and January 2016. RUDGE faces a maximum term of life in prison and a mandatory minimum term of 35 years in prison. RUDGE is scheduled to be sentenced later this year by the Honorable Kimba M. Wood, U.S. District Judge.
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As he admitted in court today, Kenneth Rudge repeatedly engaged in gun violence in furtherance of his drug trafficking, including the murder of Nelson Dubon. Four days after the murder, Rudge pistol-whipped a livery driver in a robbery attempt. And even after his arrest, Rudge tried to have fellow gang members find and silence a witness to the murder. Now, thanks to the work of the NYPD and the ATF, Rudge awaits sentencing for his murderous conduct.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict said: “The defendant engaged in a gratuitous spree of violent crimes including multiple armed robberies and a homicide. is committed to targeting the most violent offenders and their co-conspirators for federal prosecution. I commend the outstanding work of the Special Agents, NYPD Detectives, and Assistant United States Attorneys in securing today’s plea and the prosecution of the defendant’s criminal associates. The residents of New York City are safer today because of their efforts.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “We remain deeply focused on those who commit violence and carry firearms in New York City. That focus is no more evident than today’s guilty plea in a 2016 murder of Nelson Dubon in Washington Heights. Thanks to the detectives, agents, and prosecutors who have worked on this case and whose work has resulted in the unprecedented reduction in violence in New York City so far this year.”
According to the charging documents filed in the case, as well as statements made during the plea proceedings and earlier court appearances:
Since at least 2012, a group of young men and women living in the vicinity of 188th Street and Webster Avenue, and referring to itself as “YNR,” engaged in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and heroin to addicts in that area. YNR managed to bring large quantities of crack cocaine and heroin into its neighborhood and to inflict mindless and, ultimately, deadly violence on its community.
RUDGE personally participated in multiple acts of drug-related violence, including:: 1) a robbery in or about 2015, of a marijuana dealer in that marijuana dealer’s apartment, during which a victim was pistol-whipped by one of RUDGE’s co-conspirators; 2) a robbery, in or about 2015, of a marijuana dealer, resulting in a shooting by RUDGE and others to thwart the victim’s attempt to retaliate for that robbery; 3) an attempted armed robbery, on or about January 21, 2016, of a marijuana stash apartment; and 4) a robbery, on or about January 21, 2016, of a narcotics dealer and others located inside a billiards club, during which RUDGE shot and killed Nelson Dubon.
Following his arrest by the NYPD in connection with the murder of Dubon, RUDGE attempted to influence and silence witnesses against him, including by attempting to have other YNR members find and silence an eyewitness to the murder. RUDGE also continued his firearms use and violence in the days after the murder of Dubon, including through the pistol-whipping of a livery cab driver in a failed attempt to rob that person of his fares on or about January 25, 2016, in the Bronx.
* * *
Mr. Kim praised the outstanding work of the NYPD and ATF for their investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.
The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew C. Adams and Sarah Krissoff are in charge of the case.