For Immediate Release
Street Gang Members Charged with Drug Conspiracy, Firearms Violations, Carjacking, and Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering Activity
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Division, and Manuel Orosa, Chief, Miami Police Department (MPD), announce charges against 21 members and associates of the Big Money Team, a street gang operating in the Little Havana and Allapattah neighborhoods of Miami. The second superseding indictment includes charges of conspiracy to possess and possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 and 846, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking and violent crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924, firearm and ammunition possession by convicted felons, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922 and 924, carjacking, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2119, and commission of violent crime in aid of racketeering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1959.
The following 17 individuals are charged in the second superseding indictment: Maurin Chacon a/k/a “Tiny,” a/k/a “Peludo,” a/k/a “Yung Patron,” 27; Christopher Altamirano a/k/a “Tango,” a/k/a “”Peter Baitz,” 22; Rodolfo Portela a/k/a “Papo L. Desperado,” 29; Dayaan Zerquera a/k/a “Dsbf BMT Kid,” 24; Raymond Moore a/k/a “Flaco,” a/k/a “Dinero Banks,” a/k/a “Young Gunna,” 22; Alioth Salas, a/k/a “Ali,” 27; Luis Salas a/k/a “Chico Black,” 22; Christian Ramirez a/k/a “Joker,” 31; Joseph Thompson a/k/a “Joe,” 29; Carlos Tinoco a/k/a “C-Lo,” 22; James Dixon a/k/a “Smoke,” 20; Steven Castro a/k/a “YM Stevo,” 23; Dwight Forte, 22; Jay Anthony Flores a/k/a “Jay Gambino,” 19; Joel Diaz a/k/a “Borie,” a/k/a “El Paisa,” and a/k/a “Buom Clock,” 25; Fernando Roberto Darce a/k/a “Bonesz,” 20; and Mario Balboa, 29; all of Miami.
According to the second superseding indictment, these 17 defendants and co-defendants Nadim Guzman, 21, Angel Martinez, a/k/a “Telly,” a/k/a “Tboy,” 22, Kevin Diaz, 19, and Miguel Rodriguez, a/k/a “Fat Boy,” a/k/a “Barba,” 19, each of Miami, were members or associates of the “Big Money Team,” a street gang that engaged in violent crime, such as, robbery, assault, directed prostitution, armed street-level drug trafficking and obstruction of justice.
As alleged in the second superseding indictment, Big Money Team enriched its members and associates through, among other things, robbery, prostitution, and distribution of controlled substances, such as crack cocaine, Molly, and marijuana; preserving and protecting the power, territory, and profits of the gang through assault, obstruction of justice, intimidation, violence, and threats of violence; and keeping victims and witnesses in fear of the gang members and associates through threats of violence and violence.
Additionally, defendant Luis Salas is charged with one count of carjacking on or about May 31, 2014.
Co-defendants Nadim Guzman, Angel Martinez, and Kevin Diaz charged by a prior indictment on June 13, 2014, previously pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to possess controlled substances with intent to distribute, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. Co-defendant Miguel Rodriguez, also charged by the prior indictment, previously pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to possess and possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 and 846. Sentencing for Nadim Guzman is scheduled for October 15, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams. Sentencing for Miguel Rodriguez, Kevin Diaz, and Angel Martinez is scheduled for December 2, 2014, also before Judge Williams. Defendants Nadim Guzman, Angel Martinez, and Kevin Diaz each face up to 40 years in prison, to be followed by up to five years of supervised release. Defendant Miguel Rodriguez faces up to 200 years in prison, to be followed by up to five years of supervised release.
Co-Defendants Maurin Chacon, Christopher Altamirano, Rodolfo Portela, Dayaan Zerquera, Raymond Moore, Christian Ramirez, and James Dixon, originally charged by a prior indictment on June 13, 2014, are scheduled for trial commencing on December 1, 2014, before Judge Williams.
Defendants Carlos Tinoco, Luis Salas, Fernando Roberto Darce, Steven Castro, Jay Anthony Flores and Dwight Forte made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Goodman. Defendant Joseph Thompson is expected to make his initial appearance next week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes. Defendants Alioth Salas, Joel Diaz and Mario Balboa remain at large.
If convicted, each of the defendants faces up to life in prison for conspiring to possess controlled substances with intent to distribute. Defendant Maurin Chacon, Christopher Altamirano, Rodolfo Portela, Dayaan Zerquera, Raymond Moore, Christian Ramirez, and James Dixon face up to twenty years in prison for possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute. Defendant Maurin Chacon, Christopher Altamirano, Rodolfo Portela, Dayaan Zerquera, Christian Ramirez, Joseph Thompson, Carlos Tinoco, Dwight Forte, and Joel Diaz face up to life in prison for possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking or violent crime. Defendants Maurin Chacon and Dayaan Zerquera face up to ten years in prison for firearm and ammunition possession by convicted felons. Defendants Rodolfo Portela and Joseph Thompson face up to life in prison for firearm and ammunition possession by convicted felon armed career criminals. Defendants Maurin Chacon, Christopher Altamirano, Joseph Thompson and Dwight Forte faces up to twenty years in prison on the commission of violent crime in aid of racketeering charge. Defendant Luis Salas faces up to fifteen years in prison on the carjacking charge.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer stated, “Today’s charges are possible because of the continued cooperation between federal and local law enforcement to combat gang-related crime in our communities. The arrest of these defendants represents a significant victory to the residents of Little Havana and Allapattah, as we have effectively removed eighteen members and associates of the violent street gang, ‘Big Money Team.’ We will continue to prosecute individuals whose violent criminal conduct and brazen threats paralyze neighborhoods with fear as federal law, including the Violent Crime in Aiding and Abetting Racketeering statute, charged today, provides stiff penalties for repeat offenders, drug traffickers, and firearm violators. Our office is proud of this collaborative relationship and looks forward to many more operations – like this one – aimed at making our communities safer.”
“Today’s arrests demonstrates law enforcement’s commitment to dismantle violent drug trafficking gangs that are affecting the quality of life of our law abiding citizens in the community. The key to this fight is bringing the resources of all levels of government to empower law enforcement to target organized groups of violent criminals with enhanced punishment and criminal penalties through the utilization of federal statutes, such as, the Violent Crime in Aiding and Abetting Racketeering statute. This sends a clear message that our community will not tolerate the heinous activity perpetrated by gangs like Big Money Team, and evidences our commitment to work together to dismantle violent street gangs,” stated Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, Miami Field Division.
Chief of Police Manuel Orosa stated, “I am committed to improving the neighborhood of Little Havana and ridding it of thugs and drug dealers. This community is special to me because it is the neighborhood I grew up in.”
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ATF and the MPD Gang Intelligence Detail through their participation in the Miami-Dade County Multi-Agency Gang Task Force. Mr. Ferrer also thanked Miami-Dade Police Department’s Robbery Bureau and Street Gang Section, MPD’s Little Havana Problem Solving Team, MPD’s Robbery Unit, Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department’s Security Threat Group Unit, Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Gang Strike Force, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Homestead Police Department, the Miami-Beach Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their assistance in the investigation and arrests of the defendants. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ignacio J. Vázquez, Jr. and Ilham Hosseini.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.