The NYPD announced in a press release that officers from NYPD’s narcotics borough, Bronx, and FBI agents executed the takedown of “Operation Breaking Bad,” which targeted a heroin trafficking ring responsible for multiple fatal and non-fatal overdoses in the Bronx and the New York metropolitan area. Eighteen individuals were arrested and a total of three kilograms of heroin, two pounds of marijuana, a loaded firearm, and approximately $300,000 in US currency was seized during the takedown.
18 Members Of Bronx Drug Trafficking Organization Charged With Distributing Potent Heroin And Fentanyl
The Organization’s Heroin and Fentanyl Has Been Linked to At Least Five Suspected Overdose Deaths
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today that MAURICE HARTLEY, a/k/a “Bugz,” REGINALD SANDERS, a/k/a “Black,” HECTOR SANCHEZ, a/k/a “Jabee,” AARON CARTER, a/k/a “Cream,” RONALD BEASLEY, a/k/a “Nuke,” JONATHAN SANCHEZ, a/k/a “Nash,” TYVANN BARNETT, a/k/a “Ty,” JAVIER BENITEZ, a/k/a “Javi,” ALEJANDRO RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Lex,” GREGORY CARTER, a/k/a “Fat Boy,” RAY SANCHEZ, FREDDIE TORRES, a/k/a “Kiko,” EDWARD DAVIES, a/k/a “Yum Yum,” LOUIS BROWN, a/k/a “Tut,” CHRISTOPHER SIMON, JOHNNY INGRAM, MARIE PALUMBO, and TIA JASPER have been charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl. Seventeen defendants were arrested yesterday evening and this morning and were presented before United States Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger in Manhattan federal court this afternoon. BENITEZ was in custody on state charges and has been transferred to federal custody. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged, these defendants operated a network for the distribution of highly addictive and dangerous drugs. Even after they realized the potency of the drugs they were distributing and selling – and the overdose risk those drugs posed – the defendants allegedly continued to sell their poison and to fuel the opioid epidemic plaguing our nation. Today’s arrests are part of our continued commitment, along with our law enforcement partners, to stop the flow of heroin and fentanyl onto the streets of New York City.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “The drugs these suspects were allegedly selling are killing people. The harsh reality is the sellers and pushers are purposefully lacing heroin with a deadly mix of fentanyl to create a more powerful, and deadly high. The FBI Metro Safe Streets Task Force and our law enforcement partners are out day after day doing all we can to stop these criminals from causing more death in our communities. We won’t stop until we round up every last one of them.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “Law enforcement can help end the scourge of overdose deaths related to illegal narcotics in New York City by relentlessly pursuing the individuals and groups responsible for distributing them on our streets. Today’s charges show how effective the NYPD-federal partnership is in sharing the responsibility for public safety.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint and Indictment, and statements made in Court:
The defendants were members of a drug trafficking organization (the “DTO”) that operated in the Bronx, New York, and controlled heroin sales between 182nd Street and 184th Street, primarily between Jerome Avenue and University Avenue (“the “DTO’s Drug Territory”). As a means of marketing its heroin, and to ensure that the only heroin sold in the DTO’s Drug Territory belonged to the DTO, the DTO placed “stamps” on the glassines of heroin and fentanyl that it sold to customers. Among the stamps the DTO used were “Heisenberg,” “Sleepless,” “Peace of Mind,” “Obsession,” “Fist with a Power Cord,” “Sold Out,” “Methadone,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Hands Up.” From 2015 to June 2018, the DTO is estimated to have distributed more than 100 kilograms of heroin, much of it mixed with fentanyl.
Glassines marked with the DTO’s stamps were recovered at the scene of at least five suspected overdose deaths in and around the DTO’s Drug Territory. First, on September 11, 2017, an individual died of a suspected heroin overdose near the DTO’s Drug Territory, and a glassine marked with the stamp “Obsession” was recovered at the scene of the overdose death. Second, on September 18, 2017, an individual died of a suspected heroin overdose near the DTO’s Drug Territory, and a glassine marked with the stamp “Fist with a Power Cord” was recovered at the scene of the overdose death. Finally, between December 12, 2017, and on January 2, 2018, three different individuals died of suspected heroin overdoses in a building within the DTO’s Drug Territory. Glassines marked with the stamp “Hands Up” were recovered at the scene of each of these three deaths. Each time one of the DTO’s stamps was recovered at the scene of an overdose death, the DTO stopped using that stamp, and started using different stamps on the glassines of heroin and fentanyl that it distributed.
On June 5, 2018, law enforcement agents executed search warrants at several locations in the Bronx, New York, that were used by the DTO, and recovered, among other things, approximately three kilograms of heroin, approximately $300,000 in cash, and a loaded firearm.
HARTLEY, 35, SANDERS, 37, HECTOR SANCHEZ, 29, AARON CARTER, 40, BEASLEY, 36, JONATHAN SANCHEZ, 30, BARNETT, 21, BENITEZ, 29, RODRIGUEZ, 47, GREGORY CARTER, 35, RAY SANCHEZ, 30, TORRES, 36, DAVIES, 58, BROWN, 62, SIMON, 59, INGRAM, 55, and JASPER, 36, each of the Bronx, New York, and PALUMBO, 36, of Elizaville, New York, are each charged with one count of conspiring to distribute heroin and fentanyl, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and NYPD, and thanked the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael K. Krouse, Stephanie Lake, and Robert B. Sobelman are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint and Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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