Drug kingpin convicted of trafficking more than $1 million in cocaine fromPuerto Rico to New York: Narcotics seized at Midtown Hotel

BRIDGET G. BRENNAN, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, announced the conviction by jury of ROBERT ADRIAN as a major narcotic trafficker under New York State's drug kingpin statute, which carries a possible life sentence.

ADRIAN, 31, was convicted on all counts following a four-week jury trial before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bruce Allen. The jury found him guilty of Operating as a Major Trafficker, Conspiracy in the Second Degree and one count each of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First and Third Degrees.

The jury also convicted a member of ADRIAN's narcotics organization, MIGUEL ADRIAN-REYES, 30, on all counts he faced, including Conspiracy in the Second Degree and one count each of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First and Third Degrees. These verdicts were delivered on Tuesday afternoon. Sentencing for ADRIAN has not yet been set and his next appearance in court is scheduled for Oct. 21. Sentencing for ADRIAN-REYES is expected to take place on Nov. 7.

The judge declared a mistrial yesterday afternoon as to a third defendant JOSE CRUZ ORTIZ, a.k.a. "NONO," when jurors declared they were unable to reach a verdict following nearly three days of deliberations. ORTIZ was an inmate in a federal prison in Puerto Rico during the course of the conspiracy. He faces charges of Operating as a Major Trafficker, Conspiracy in the Second Degree and one count each of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First and Third Degrees. ORTIZ remains in custody and is due back in court on Nov. 14.

On May 18, 2011, agents and officers with the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF) seized approximately 43 kilos (nearly 95 lbs.) of cocaine in Midtown Manhattan following a five-month wiretap investigation. Agents observed drug couriers place three duffle bags filled with narcotics inside a vehicle parked near the Hampton Inn at 51st Street and 8th Avenue. Approximately 37 kilos of cocaine were found inside the bags in the vehicle, while another six kilos were recovered from a hotel room inside the Hampton Inn. The cocaine carried a street value of approximately $1.5 million.

According to testimony, recorded phone conversations and other evidence presented at trial, between Feb. 26, 2011 and May 18, 2011 ADRIAN conspired to transport multiple shipments of cocaine from Puerto Rico to New York. ADRIAN directed a circle of drug workers in New York, who were to receive and distribute the cocaine.

ORTIZ was an inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) Guaynabo, located outside San Juan, P.R. He allegedly used a contraband cell phone to coordinate the shipment of drugs from Puerto Rico with assistance from his girlfriend ROSIBEL CRUZ, who resided in New York and with whom he shares a son. CRUZ is currently a fugitive.

The arrests and prosecutions are the result of a long-term investigation by the NYDETF and the Special Investigations Bureau of the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. The NYDETF is comprised of agents, officers and investigators with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New York Division, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the New York State Police.

During the trial, the jury reviewed transcripts of numerous recorded phone conversations in which plans to transport the cocaine from Puerto Rico to New York were discussed, as were the prices and quality of the narcotics. Cell phones possessed by ADRIAN and CRUZ were the subject of court authorized wiretaps. Information gleaned from these conversations was used to establish the defendants' roles in the scheme and to set up surveillance.

On May 18, 2011, ADRIAN received word from CRUZ that a drug shipment was ready for pick-up in New York.

According to evidence presented at the trial, ADRIAN and CRUZ made arrangements for their intermediaries to meet near the Hampton Inn at 51st Street and 8th Avenue. ADRIAN discussed his plan to oversee the transfer of the cocaine shipment from a separate vehicle.

That evening, agents and officers with NYDETF observed two men place the duffle bags inside a vehicle operated by ADRIAN's intermediary ADRIAN-REYES outside the Hampton Inn. Agents stopped the vehicle, seized the 37 kilos from inside and took ADRIAN-REYES into custody.

ROBERT ADRIAN was nearby in a separate vehicle and was also taken into custody.

A search of a room in the Hampton Inn yielded the additional six kilograms of cocaine, bringing the total seized to 43 kilograms.

Three individuals involved in the May 18 drug transaction pleaded guilty to conspiracy and narcotics-related charges prior to the trial, including the two men who placed the duffle bags in the vehicle near the Hampton Inn.

This case was prosecuted by the Special Investigations Bureau of the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.

In delivering its verdict against ADRIAN on the Operating as a Major Trafficker charge, the jury was required to find that evidence proved one of the following three theories:

Subdivision (1)

  • Acts as a director of controlled substance organization
  • Sells during period 12 months or less one or more controlled substances
  • Proceeds collected or due from sales aggregate value $75,000 or more

Subdivision (2)

  • Acts as a Profiteer
  • Sells on 1 or more occasions within  6 months or less a narcotic drug
  • Proceeds collected or due from sales aggregate value $75,000 or more

Subdivision (3)

  • Acts as a Profiteer
  • Possesses with intent to sell  on 1 or more occasions within  6 months or less a narcotic drug
  • Proceeds collected or due from sales aggregate value $75,000 or more

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Contacts:

Kati Cornell
Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office
(212) 815-0525

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