Investigation Division

Narcotic Street Gangs
Millions of Dollars in Heroin Seized from Bronx Packaging Mill and Vehicle
"Good Guys" Trucking Company Transports Heroin Cross-Country
$11 Million Heroin Shipment Seized: New York to New England
Manhattan Hospital's Pharmacy Director Stole Millions of Dollars in Pain Pills
Rikers Island Correction Officers Indicted on Narcotics and Bribery Charges
NYPD Officer Charged with Providing Protection for Narcotics Conspiracy
Two Women Arrested with over $5 Million in Heroin in Vehicle
International Narcotics Ring Dismantled: Drugs Funneled to NYC and Long Island
New York and Pennsylvania Suppliers Arrested: Heroin and "Crystal Meth"
Money Launderer Sentenced to Prison: Drug Residue Links Cash to Narcotics
Adult Entertainers and Club Manager Drug and Defraud Victims

Trial Division

Ringleader of Citywide Drug Trafficking Group and 11 Others Arrested: 3 Guns
Four Indicted in Bulk Sales of Narcotics and Guns
Prominent Dermatologist Charged in Rx Drug Fraud
Brooklyn Doctor Peddled Painkiller Rxs to Drug Dealer
$1 Million Cocaine Seizure in Williamsburg Traffic Stop
Over $1 Million in Heroin Seized from Bronx Packaging Mill
"Nagle Boyzz" Round-the-Clock Drug Operation Dismantled in Manhattan
Tricked-Out Apartment in Manhattan Yields $12 Million in Heroin
Longtime Fugitive Convicted in 1999 Slaying of Manhattan Man

Investigation Divisions

Narcotic Street Gangs

Violent neighborhood street gangs have had a destabilizing effect on our most vulnerable communities.  Groups of teens and young adults are at war with one another over territory and status, showing little regard for the innocent lives jeopardized by public gun battles. Crews fund illegal gun purchases and other criminal activity by selling narcotics.

In 2014, a close collaboration between  SNP's Gang Prosecutions  Unit, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office and the NYPD resulted in the arrest of 16 members and associates of a gang called "GS9" and the seizure of 21 firearms. Based in East Flatbush, the gang's reach extended  throughout the city and to Miami, Fla. During the investigation, members of the NYPD's Brooklyn South Violence Reduction Task Force probed nearly two-dozen shootings.

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Guns seized from members of GS9

A 101-count indictment  charged  members of the group in connection with I 4 of these shootings, including a homicide in a bodega in Brooklyn  On several occasions, members of the gang fired shots into crowds  of bystanders in Brooklyn and Miami. Money from narcotics  sales funded the purchase of firearms and other criminal activity On December 7, NYPD officers arrested eight defendants in the vicinity of Quad Recording Studios at 723 7th Avenue in Manhattan, including Ackquille Pollard, aka "Bobby Shmurda," and Chad Marshall, aka "Rowdy Rebel." These two individuals and a number of their codefendants also perform as a rap group under the name "GS9." Additional defendants were arrested elsewhere in the city and in Miami, while two were incarcerated outside of New York State.

The case was built largely on physical evidence, including ballistics and DNA evidence, surveillance videos, eyewitness testimony and recorded phone conversations. Police also examined text messages, social media postings and photos for corroborating evidence. Charges include Conspiracy, Murder, Attempted Murder, Assault, Attempted Assault, Weapons Possession, Criminal Use of a Firearm, Reckless Endangerment, Narcotics Sales and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia.

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New York Times, December 19, 2014

Millions of Dollars in Heroin Seized from Bronx Packaging Mill and Vehicle

Agents dismantled a heroin trafficking operation and seized approximately 10 kilograms (over 22 lbs.) packaged for street level distribution. The organization, which operated a heroin mill on Boynton Avenue in the Bronx, marketed its product under a variety of brand names, including “Prada,” “Audi,” “Pinky Dinky” and “Sin City,” that were stamped onto user-ready glassine envelopes. Members of the DEA’s Drug Enforcement Task Force were conducting surveillance of the suspected drug location when they saw a subject place a heavily weighted laundry bag into the trunk of a car driven by another individual. Agents stopped the car with both men inside and recovered multiple brick-shaped packages wrapped in magazine paper, each containing numerous individual glassine envelopes. The envelopes were estimated to hold approximately seven kilograms (15 lbs.) of heroin. Further investigation revealed the bag of heroin had come from Apt. 3B in 1049 Boynton Ave. Upon entering the apartment, agents detained five more individuals and seized another three kilograms of heroin, most of which had been packaged in a similar fashion to that found in the vehicle.

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Heroin with a street value of approximately $2.5 million was seized in the Bronx. Mill workers wrote names on the masks they wore while processing heroin.

"Good Guys" Trucking Company Transports Heroin Cross-Country

The owner of a Queens trucking company called "Good Guys Transport Corp." and a driver were arrested for smuggling 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of heroin from California to Hauppauge, Long Island inside a tractor trailer. The pair was apprehended by agents who the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, who found heroin concealed in a "trap," or hidden compartment, on the back wall of the truck's cab. Heroin was pressed into rectangular blocks or formed into the shape of shoe soles. The driver allegedly picked up the 15 kilograms of heroin in Riverside, Cal. and paid an individual there $750,000 cash before transporting the load back to New York. Agents also recovered more than $300,000 cash from the home of the trucking company owner and from a safe deposit box.

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A Queens-based tractor trailer outfitted with secret compartments transported heroin from California to Long Island. International traffickers frequently use hollowed out shoes to smuggle heroin.

$11 Million Heroin Shipment Seized: New York to New England

A scheme to smuggle narcotics from Colombia to Connecticut via New York was disrupted. DEA agents recovered approximately 24 kilograms of heroin (53 lbs.), over nine kilograms of cocaine (20 lbs.), $85,000 in cash and three firearms in related searches in the Bronx and Hartford, Conn. Seven defendants were indicted, including two New York-based traffickers whom agents tracked as they drove from the Bronx to Hartford, where they delivered approximately 10 kilograms of heroin. Also charged were two individuals who flew to Colombia to negotiate the sale of the heroin, the primary supplier for the Connecticut group, and an individual in Connecticut who received the heroin. An additional 13 kilograms of heroin was recovered from a Hartford apartment. Quantities of heroin and nine kilograms of cocaine were seized in the Bronx.

Manhattan Hospital’s Pharmacy Director Stole Millions of Dollars in Pain Pills

A pharmacy director for Beth Israel Medical Center was indicted and arrested in the theft of millions of dollars in highly addictive narcotic painkillers from the hospital. Anthony D’Alessandro used his position at Beth Israel, where he worked for over 14 years, to steal nearly 200,000 pills of oxycodone. The pills carried an estimated street value of $5.6 million. In carrying out the scheme, D’Alessandro removed medication from a vault and made false entries into the hospital’s electronic narcotics inventory system in an attempt to cover his tracks. He indicated that the medication was being sent to the research pharmacy at the hospital, when in fact he used the pills for criminal activity. The theft came to light following a merger of Mount Sinai Medical Center and Continuum Health Partners, Beth Israel’s former parent company

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New York Post, July 9, 2014

Rikers Island Correction Officers Indicted on Narcotics and Bribery Charges

Three current and former Rikers Island Correction Officers were arrested on charges of conspiracy, narcotics possession, bribery and the smuggling of contraband as a result of an undercover investigation by the city’s Department of Investigation and the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force. The Correction Officers allegedly transported contraband, including what they believed to be oxycodone pills, into Rikers Island Correctional Facility for a price. Two of the officers, Steven Dominguez and Divine Rahming, were also accused of conspiring to traffic in cocaine outside of the jail. During the probe, the Correction Officers received contraband and payment for introducing the contraband into the jail from undercover investigators, who posed as friends and family members of inmates. Dominguez and Rahming were charged together with an inmate and the inmate’s girlfriend. A second indictment  charged former Correction Officer Deleon Gifth with committing similar crimes separately. Gifth resigned prior to his arrest. Additionally, Dominguez and Rahming are charged with agreeing to transport cocaine in a deal struck outside of the jail. During a meeting with an undercover DEA agent, Dominguez offered his services for drug deliveries and stated that he had a badge and a gun. After successfully delivering cocaine to another undercover agent, Dominguez offered to involve Rahming in future transactions. The pair was arrested at a subsequent meeting with an undercover DEA agent in a Bronx parking lot, where they possessed over eight ounces of cocaine.

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New York Times, July 3, 2014

NYPD Officer Charged with Providing Protection for Narcotics Conspiracy

New York City Police Officer Merlin Alston was arrested on conspiracy and official misconduct charges for allegedly participating in drug sales, serving as a driver for a narcotics trafficker and providing protection. In one instance, Alston armed himself with a shotgun supplied by a drug trafficker and watched over a narcotics related meeting from a nearby vehicle. Alston also assisted drug dealers in avoiding police by warning them about nearby enforcement activities. The indictment charges that Alston committed these crimes between June 2010 and October 2014, while he was assigned to the NYPD’s 46th Precinct.

Two Women Arrested with over $5 Million in Heroin in Vehicle

Approximately 20 kilograms of heroin (44 lbs.), including nearly half a million user-ready envelopes, were seized in the West Bronx as a result of a long-term investigation by the DEA. Agents conducting surveillance on a suspected heroin packaging operation in the vicinity of Creston Avenue observed two female subjects enter a van, one of them carrying a large duffle bag. The van drove off in an erratic manner and one of the women could be seen motioning towards the rear cargo area. The van entered a parking garage and the women were stopped leaving the vehicle. Agents found the keys still in the ignition and the duffle bag inside the van. The bag contained four shrink-wrapped bricks, each consisting of approximately 25,000 glassine envelopes of heroin. Another 15 shrink-wrapped bricks of glassines and a kilogram of loose heroin were recovered from a hidden compartment in the cargo area of the vehicle.

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Agents tracked two female drug traffickers and retrieved bricks of heroin from inside a hidden compartment.

International Narcotics Ring Dismantled: Drugs Funneled to NYC and Long Island

A multi-million dollar drug pipeline from Mexico to New York City and Long Island funneled heroin, cocaine, MDMA and steroids into the metropolitan area. Nine defendants from Mexico, California, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens were indicted as a result of an investigation by SNP, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the DEA’s Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Nassau County Police Department. Cesar Romero- Astudillo, a Bronx resident also known as “Menor,” is accused of running the trafficking network and is charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker under New York State’s kingpin statute. Narcotics were smuggled out of Mexico inside vehicles and transported in airplanes by swallowers” who ingested packaged heroin. Heroin, cocaine, MDMA and steroids were also sold via Craigslist.

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Kilos of heroin were recovered from an SUV’s engine manifold in Warren County, N.J.

New York and Pennsylvania Suppliers Arrested: Heroin and “Crystal Meth”

Six drug traffickers were charged in connection with schemes to distribute narcotics in New York and Pennsylvania following a long term investigation. The head of the organization, Gustavo Adolfo Solis, aka “Chili,” was arrested after placing nearly a pound of heroin inside the trunk of a car in Flushing, Queens. The heroin was concealed in a baby wipes container that Solis carried inside a Babies “R” Us shopping bag. Solis had picked up the heroin at an associate’s apartment. DEA agents arrested this associate and his wife, who face charges for allowing the heroin to remain in the residence with their baby. Earlier in the investigation, agents seized over three pounds of methamphetamine, also known as “crystal meth,” from a vehicle. The driver, a drug dealer from Pennsylvania, had just left a meeting with Solis and a female associate in Brooklyn. Investigators believe the “crystal meth” originated in Mexico. SNP conducted the investigation with the DEA and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

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Heroin was concealed inside a baby wipes container.

Money Launderer Sentenced to Prison: Drug Residue Links Cash to Narcotics

As a result of an investigation by SNP’s Money Laundering and Financial Investigations Unit and the El Dorado Task Force, Salvador Fernandez was sentenced to an aggregate prison term of 10 to 21 years for drug possession, money laundering and other charges. Fernandez was arrested in May 2011 while in the process of laundering approximately $200,000. During a search of his apartment, investigators recovered an additional $60,000, one pound of cocaine, drug ledgers that reflected the sale of multiple kilograms and the laundering of nearly $1 million, and drug paraphernalia.

Fernandez admitted that he invested commissions earned from his money laundering operation in a side business of buying and selling cocaine. Days after posting bail, Fernandez was discovered laundering an additional $145,000 and he quickly fled the U.S. Months later, he was captured while flying from Colombia to Mexico. In January 2014, Fernandez went on trial in New York. An expert witness interpreted his drug and money ledgers, and explained how entries on the money ledgers reflected use of the Black Market Peso Exchange, a sophisticated money laundering method. Another expert described conducting scientific tests on the seized currency for traces of narcotic drug residue. Evidence of the drug residue on the currency was critical to proving that the currency was the proceeds of narcotics activity. This was the first time a New York State Court admitted expert testimony about trace drug contamination on currency.

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For the first time in New York State Courts, drug residue on cash linked the laundered money to the narcotics trade.

Adult Entertainers and Club Manager Drug and Defraud Victims

Four female adult entertainers and a club manager were arrested for stealing $200,000 from wealthy men in a plot that involved drugging the victims. The investigation, which was conducted by the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad and the NYPD, revealed that the defendants worked together to identify victims and transport these victims to strip clubs in Manhattan and Queens once they were drugged and incapacitated. The victims’ credit cards were charged without their consent. The scheme was carried out at RoadHouse NYC Gentlemen’s Club in Queens and Scores New York in Manhattan, as well as high-end hotels and restaurants in the metropolitan area. Charges in the indictment included grand larceny, conspiracy, assault, forgery and tampering with physical evidence.

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New York Post, June 12, 2014

Trial Division

Ringleader of Citywide Drug Trafficking Group and 11 Others Arrested: 3 Guns

The head of a sprawling drug trafficking organization was among 12 charged in a plot to sell large quantities of cocaine and heroin in New York and Connecticut. The group received shipments of narcotics from a supplier in Puerto Rico, among other sources, and maintained stash locations in Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens. The NYPD’s yearlong wiretap investigation, dubbed “Operation Rebound,” focused on Carlos Medina, a federal parolee who had been convicted on federal conspiracy, drug and firearm charges in 1986. Medina falsely told parole officers he earned a legitimate living through a jewelry store he owned on West 47th Street in Manhattan. Meanwhile he repeatedly travelled to Puerto Rico to set up drug shipments and personally made three narcotics sales to undercover officers. Court authorized searches in New York City yielded two firearms, including one found inside a hidden trap in a Jacuzzi alongside several kilograms of cocaine and heroin.

Supplier Ramon Delgado was arrested in Puerto Rico, where he remains in custody pending extradition. An additional firearm and over $90,000 cash were seized during that arrest.

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A New York City-based drug trafficker met with suppliers in Puerto Rico and oversaw stash locations in Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens.

Four Indicted in Bulk Sales of Narcotics and Guns

A drug and gun trafficker from New Jersey was arrested along with three others as a result of an undercover investigation by the NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Manhattan South. Fiore Caruso, aka “Phil,” and his co-defendants were charged in connection with 12 sales to undercover officers, including 500 grams of cocaine priced at $23,000 and nine firearms that sold for $16,800. Meetings with the undercover officers took place near two Starbucks coffee shops in the East Village section of Manhattan, including the busy Astor Place location, among other places. Caruso and a codefendant were arrested on charges contained in an indictment after exiting a vehicle in New Jersey. Police seized $13,000 cash and quantities of cocaine, oxycodone and other pills during the arrests. Additional quantities of drugs, including  approximately 5,000 pills, and $2,500 cash were seized from an apartment Caruso controlled in Weehawken, N.J.

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Daily News, December 19, 2014

Prominent Dermatologist Charged in Rx Drug Fraud

Manhattan dermatologist Cheryl Karcher was arrested at her Park Avenue medical office for obtaining narcotic painkillers through illegal prescriptions. Karcher allegedly wrote prescriptions for Percocet, Adderall and other drugs in the names of her patients and others without their knowledge or consent. She filled prescriptions at local pharmacies after convincing the pharmacists that her intention was to deliver the pills to her patients. Karcher was charged in connection with 15 prescriptions filled between February 2010 and November 2012. DEA agents conducted a court authorized search of her office at the time of the arrest. An indictment charged Karcher with drug possession, prescription sales, falsifying business records and fraud.

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New York Times, July 10, 2014

Brooklyn Doctor Peddled Painkiller Rxs to Drug Dealer

A Brooklyn doctor was indicted for conspiring to sell hundreds of oxycodone prescriptions to a drug trafficker over the course of four years. The drug dealer made frequent visits to Dr. Schiller Desgrottes and obtained oxycodone prescriptions in at least 19 different names. Between 2010 and 2014, Desgrottes allegedly sold 227prescriptions at $200 per prescription, netting more than $45,000 in illegal cash payments. Prescriptions were filled at pharmacies in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and would have yielded nearly 41,000 pills worth approximately $700,000 on the black market. Members of the DEA’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force arrested Desgrottes at his home in Dix Hills, Long Island. He had been licensed to practice medicine in New York State for more than 34 years.

$1 Million Cocaine Seizure in Williamsburg Traffic Stop

A routine traffic stop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn led to the seizure of seven kilograms of cocaine (15 lbs.) with a street value of over $1 million. Brian Espinal was pulled over on Meserole Street while driving a Toyota Camry with defective lights. Upon running his license, officers learned that Espinal had an open arrest warrant for a previous ticket and they detained him. Detecting the smell of marijuana, the officers conducted a search and found Espinal had small quantities of marijuana and cocaine on his person. The seven kilograms of cocaine was recovered from inside the trunk. Over $8,000 cash was also seized from the vehicle. A year later, while charges against Espinal were still pending, he was re-arrested by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Sunrise, Fla. in a drug case involving an NYPD officer. Authorities in Florida charge that Espinal and the officer, Philip LeRoy, partnered to purchase 10 kilograms (over 22 lbs.) of cocaine on Dec. 1, 2014 from an undercover officer. Espinal had nearly $200,000 in his possession at the time that he and LeRoy were arrested. Espinal pled guilty to charges in Florida, where he remains in custody.

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Over $1 million in cocaine and $8,000 cash was seized by NYPD officers during a routine traffic stop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Over $1 Million in Heroin Seized from Bronx Packaging Mill

DEA agents uncovered a large-scale heroin mill on Wallace Avenue in the Bronx, where drug workers were in the process of packaging more than three kilograms of heroin (8 lbs.) for retail distribution. The packaging mill, located in a fifth floor apartment, contained approximately two and one-half kilograms of bulk heroin and 30,000 individual-dose glassine envelopes of heroin that had already been filled and stamped with brand names, including “NFL” and “iPhone.” Also inside the apartment were thousands of empty envelopes and all of the equipment necessary to process heroin. Prior to the search, agents conducting surveillance at the building observed a subject enter with bags and leave empty-handed. As they stopped this individual for questioning, another subject crawled out of a fifth floor window onto a fire escape and attempted to flee. Agents entered the apartment through this same window.

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Drug traffickers hid supplies in an oven.

“Nagle Boyzz” Round-the-Clock Drug Operation Dismantled in Manhattan

Twelve leaders and members of the “Nagle Boyzz” gang were arrested for running a 24-hour cocaine and pill trafficking operation in the Inwood section of Manhattan. The 14-month undercover NYPD investigation revealed that members of the Nagle Boyzz did brisk business in the vicinity of 176 Nagle Ave., a block that became notorious for drug dealing. Sales took place in the lobbies and stairwells of apartment buildings, generating community complaints. The hierarchical crew was run by a boss, Remiguez Sanchez, and three mid-level managers who took turns overseeing eight-hour shifts. Sanchez and the three shift managers have since pled guilty to drug and conspiracy charges.

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Members of the Nagle Boyzz drug gang posted Instagram photos of themselves with firearms and flashing gang signs.

Tricked-Out Apartment in Manhattan Yields $12 Million in Heroin

A typical case handled by the unit involved the seizure of 20 kilograms (nearly 45 lbs.) of heroin worth approximately $12 million from a sophisticated drug organization headquartered in Washington Heights. A stash location at 111 Wadsworth Avenue provided easy access to transportation routes such as the George Washington Bridge and I-95. In a pair of court authorized searches, investigators and DEA agents found bricks of heroin hidden in multiple secret compartments or “traps” built into walls and furniture.

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A sophisticated heroin trafficking organization used carefully concealed compartments and electronic surveillance.

Longtime Fugitive Convicted in 1999 Slaying of Manhattan Man

The unit played a key role in bringing a longtime fugitive to justice for the 1999 murder of a Manhattan man, who was shot and killed in front of his family during a botched kidnapping. Miguel De Los Santos was convicted at trial and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in December. Jurors heard evidence that De Los Santos and a group of drug traffickers targeted the victim in a narcotics-related dispute involving the victim’s cousin. De Los Santos and his henchmen suspected the cousin had cheated them on a cocaine deal. They believed that the victim, who was not involved in drug activity, could help them locate the cousin. In the alternative, De Los Santos thought that by orchestrating the kidnapping of the victim, he would gain a valuable bargaining chip. Unable to supply the drug traffickers with information, the victim, a 34-year-old father to a young child, was gunned down in front of his wife and father-in-law at his home. De Los Santos fled. The shooter and three others were subsequently arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. SNP investigators doggedly pursued De Los Santos until he was captured in North Carolina and returned to New York City. The trial was handled by Assistant District Attorneys from SNP’s Special Investigations Bureau and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

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