Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William J. Bratton, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), James J. Hunt, the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), Thomas Cannon, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), and James T. Hayes, Jr., the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced charges today against 27 individuals who sold narcotics and used guns in the Fordham and Kingsbridge areas of the Bronx, 20 of whom were members and associates of the Trinitarios street gang (the “Trinitarios” or the “Gang”).
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, for approximately five years, members and associates of the Trinitarios maintained a vise-like grip on narcotics trafficking in the Fordham and Kingsbridge areas of the Bronx, and controlled their territory through violence. Gangs like the Trinitarios are a cancer on New York’s neighborhoods – both in the physical harm they inflict and the atmosphere of despair they create. Today’s arrests again demonstrate this Office’s commitment to eradicating the scourge of gangs throughout the Southern District of New York and to giving back to residents the peaceful enjoyment of their communities.”
NYPD Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “Gangs and illegal drug trafficking compromise the quality of life in our communities. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the
investigators and prosecutors involved in this case, their operation has been shut down and they will be brought to justice.”
DEA Acting Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said: “Residents of Fordham and Kingsbridge areas of the Bronx were unwilling victims of gun violence and intimidation imposed by the Trinitarios gang’s drug operations. This operation is the epitome of law enforcement collaboration between the US Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York, New York City’s Finest, local and federal law enforcement to combat gang violence and reclaim these neighborhoods from drug trafficking.”
ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas Cannon said: “The arrests today mark the latest collaborative efforts of law enforcement against the scourge of gang violence, in particular the alleged criminal activities of members and associates of the Trinitarios. This investigation, which spans many years and has resulted in the arrests of over 100 gang members, continues to uncover the wanton violence and extensive narcotics trafficking this criminal organization and its associates committed with impunity on the streets of New York. The ATF is grateful to our law enforcement partners at the DEA, HSI, the NYPD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their investigative focus and dedication throughout. Today, New York City residents can rest knowing that members of the Trinitarios responsible for victimizing the citizens of New York City and beyond have been brought to justice.”
ICE HSI New York Special Agent-in-Charge James T. Hayes, Jr. said: “Today’s arrest disrupt the illegal drug trafficking and violence of TREY 18, a particularly dangerous contingent of the Trinitarios criminal street gang. HSI is committed to working collaboratively across all levels of law enforcement to combat the violence and chaos caused by transnational criminal organizations such as the Trinitarios."
Two Indictments (“Indictment One” and “Indictment Two”) and a Complaint were unsealed today in Manhattan federal court.
According to Indictment One, from approximately 2009 to the present, the Trinitarios operated in the Fordham and Kingsbridge neighborhoods of the Bronx, among other locations. The Trinitarios operating in these neighhorhoods during this time period were members of two related “sets,” or factions of the Gang, called the “18 Treys” and “Greenbridge.” Members of the 18 Treys and Greenbridge sets, and their associates, committed acts of violence, such as shootings, against rival gangs – such as the “Eden Boys” gang – in order to protect their drug-trafficking operation, and to protect fellow members and associates of the Trinitarios. Members and associates of the 18 Treys and Greenbridge sets controlled drug trafficking in the Fordham and Kingsbridge neighborhoods of the Bronx. ANDY SOSA, a/k/a “Sosa Gucci Prada,” and NELSON VERAS, a/k/a “Monkey,” a/k/a “Monkey White,” were leaders of the Trinitarios in these neighborhoods. MICKEY VALDEZ, a/k/a “Mikey,” was one of the shooters on behalf of the Gang, enforcing the Gang’s control over these neighborhoods, as well as the Gang’s drug trafficking, through violence.
ANDY SOSA, a/k/a “Sosa Gucci Prada,” MICKEY VALDEZ, a/k/a “Mikey,” NELSON VERAS, a/k/a “Monkey,” a/k/a “Monkey White,” OSCAR ALMANZAR, a/k/a “Heavy,” JIMMY KELLY, AKBAR HUSSAIN, a/k/a “AK,” DARWIN AYALA, a/k/a “Fatulo,” JOSHUEL RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Alpa,” MIGUEL CARELA, a/k/a “Bone,” a/k/a “Bonet,” JUSTIN RAMIREZ, a/k/a “E.T.,” JAMES PAULINO, LUCAS CHAJECKI, a/k/a “Luc,” OMAURIS CABRERA, a/k/a “Oh Boy,” EDWIN MERCEDES, a/k/a “Mela,” a/k/a “Melasas,” CHRISTOPHER PEREZ, a/k/a “Flaco,” ARGENIS RODRIGUEZ, ISMEAL VASQUEZ, a/k/a “Ish,” MICHAEL ALVARADO, a/k/a “Dirt,” JORGE ARTILES, and ARGENIS HENRIQUEZ, a/k/a “Shysty,” are charged in Indictment One with conspiring to sell cocaine, heroin, crack, marijuana, oxycodone, and suboxone. SOSA, VERAS, RODRIGUEZ, CARELA, and RAMIREZ are also charged with carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm, and aiding and abetting the same, in connection with the charged narcotics conspiracy.
In Indictment Two, FRANCIS SANTOS, a/k/a “Lucky,” MANUEL SANTOS, and RALPHAEL GERMAN, a/k/a “Capo,” are charged with selling cocaine and marijuana in the vicinity of Andrews Avenue in the Bronx.
In the Complaint, SAGE PEREZ, a/k/a “Mango,” DANIEL BERROA, a/k/a “Bucks,” YAMIL LUNA, a/k/a “Skillz,” and JULIAN REYNOSO, a/k/a “Juju,” are charged with selling marijuana in the vicinity of West Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx.
During the arrests, agents and officers seized, among other evidence, prescription pills, heroin, and narcotics packaging paraphernalia. To date, in this case, agents and officers have seized, among other evidence, numerous firearms with ammunition, two machetes, multiple knives, and quantities of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy.
In a coordinated strike, 19 defendants were arrested in New York late last night and early this morning. They will be presented later this afternoon in Manhattan federal court. OMAURIS CABRERA is already in federal custody on a separate narcotics charge, and remains in custody. FRANCIS SANTOS, OSCAR ALMAZAR, EDWIN MERCEDES, and ARGENIS HENRIQUEZ are already in custody on state charges. As of the time of this press release, the following defendants are still being sought: Nelson Veras, Michael Alvarado, Jorge Artilles, Justin Ramirez, Argenis Rodriguez, Lucas Chajecki, and Manuel Santos. A chart identifying each defendant, the charges, and the maximum penalties is attached to this release. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
The indicted cases are assigned to U.S. District Judge Michael H. Dolinger.
Today’s charges stem from a long-term investigation, “Operation Patria,” conducted by federal and local law enforcement officers working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The charges unsealed today come approximately two years after the filing of the initial indictment in this case, which charged 50 members and associates of the Trinitiarios Gang with racketeering, narcotics, and firearms offenses, and approximately one year after the superseding indictment, which charged 26 additional defendants with nine murders. A total of 104 defendants have been charged in this case between the original indictment and the charges unsealed today. Aside from those defendants charged today for the first time in this case, all but 18 of those defendants have already been convicted at trial or by guilty plea.
In addition, in 2009 and 2010, this Office charged a combined 43 members and associates of the Manhattan faction of the Trinitarios Gang with racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering, narcotics conspiracy, and firearms offenses. All of those individuals have pleaded guilty to charges associated with that case, including the May 2012 guilty pleas of Jonathan Feliz, who was alleged to have been the leader of the Manhattan faction of the Trinitarios Gang, to a mandatory minimum term of 30 years in prison for racketeering offenses committed in connection with his leadership of the Gang, and Louinsky Minier, also one of the Gang’s leaders, to charges related to the November 23, 2006, murder of Roy Abreu, which occurred on 162nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan.
Since 2009, this Office has charged at least a combined 147 members and associates of the Trinitarios Gang, including Leonides Sierra, a/k/a “Junito,” the Gang’s national leader, who pled guilty.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA, the NYPD, the ATF, and HSI/ICE. He added that the investigation is continuing.
The Office's Violent and Organized Crime Unit is overseeing the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Maimin and Justina Geraci are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictments and Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.