Staten Island Narcotics Investigation Upends Citywide Supply Chain in Manhattan and the Bronx
Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon announced today the arrest and indictment of 9 individuals, including alleged heroin and fentanyl distributors on Staten Island and narcotics suppliers in the Bronx and the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
An indictment filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) is the result of a long-term investigation by the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Criminal Enterprise Investigation Section (CEIS) and the office of Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. DA McMahon reviewed and submitted multiple wiretap applications for court authorization.
At its outset in September of 2017, the investigation centered on three individuals involved in the alleged distribution of fentanyl and heroin in Staten Island: STEVEN ILDEFONSO, PETER FAUSTIN and ANTHONY DEVITO. The investigation revealed that ILDEFONSO was a longtime Staten Island resident who, after relocating to the Bronx, continued to commute via the Staten Island Ferry in order to oversee the drug business.
Through the use of court authorized wiretaps, police were able to identify two groups of citywide narcotics suppliers. Defendants VINCENT HANEMANN and JUAN REYES allegedly served as mid-level suppliers in the Bronx. Defendants JOSE ROSA, DANNY SANTANA and JULIO DELACRUZ allegedly operated a high-level supply network in the vicinity of a bodega at West 107th Street and Manhattan Avenue in the Upper West Side.
Six defendants were arrested today, while three were previously in custody, including one facing extradition from Pennsylvania. Arraignments are expected to take place today before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Abraham Clott, Part 61, 111 Centre Street, on charges of Conspiracy in the Second and Fourth Degrees, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First, Second and Third Degrees, and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree.
During the course of the investigation, the defendants allegedly sold narcotics to an undercover officer on nearly a dozen occasions for a total of nearly $24,500 cash. Seven sales took place in Staten Island and four in the Bronx. The defendants communicated with one another by cellphone and through encrypted messaging applications.
ILDEFONSO, FAUSTIN and DEVITO allegedly sold heroin, fentanyl (a potent synthetic opioid) and various fentanyl analogues (substances chemically similar to fentanyl) that had been packaged in individual dose glassine envelopes. Opioid drugs of varying types and potency were sold interchangeably or mixed together.
The investigation revealed that ILDEFONSO, who resides in the Bronx, regularly commuted by ferry to the St. George terminal, where he would be picked up by car and driven to conduct drug business. He also allegedly met with suppliers and conducted sales in the Bronx.
In the largest undercover sale of the case, on February 1, 2018, ILDEFONSO allegedly sold more than 1,000 glassines of heroin for $6,000 cash in the vicinity of Colgate Avenue and Watson Avenue in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx. Analysis by the NYPD laboratory revealed the presence of heroin and a fentanyl analogue, methoxyacetyl fentanyl. This substance is not included on the New York State schedule of controlled substances, despite having contributed to overdose deaths in New York City.
Around the time of this sale, police had identified ILDEFONSO’s narcotics suppliers as a result of a court authorized wiretap obtained by Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. As charged in the indictment, VINCENT HANEMANN received narcotics from JUAN REYES. HANEMANN and an unapprehended individual supplied narcotics to ILDEFONSO.
On April 4, 2018, ILDEFONSO and the undercover officer discussed setting up a sale for 65 grams of cocaine. ILDEFONSO directed the undercover officer to meet him the following day at an Applebee’s restaurant at 76 West 225th Street in the Marble Hill neighborhood of the Bronx. On April 5, 2018, at approximately 3:50 p.m., ILDEFONSO, REYES, HANEMANN and the unapprehended individual allegedly met with the undercover officer in the bar area of the Applebee’s. Detectives observed ILDEFONSO arrive at the restaurant with three minor children, who sat at table while he went to the bar area.
The undercover officer passed $3,000 cash to ILDEFONSO underneath the bar. ILDEFONSO and the unapprehended individual removed a portion of the cash and passed the rest to HANEMANN, who in turn removed a portion and passed the remainder to REYES.
At approximately 4:45 p.m., detectives observed REYES exit the restaurant and briefly enter a car. REYES re-entered the restaurant with a package concealed inside his jacket and entered the restroom. The unapprehended individual met REYES in the restroom and returned to hand the undercover officer the alleged narcotics. ILDEFONSO provided the undercover with $225 cash, explaining that they were unable to provide the full 65 grams. Subsequent analysis by the NYPD laboratory determined the package of cocaine weighed 58 grams.
A week later, on April 12, 2018, police conducted a court-authorized search of ILDEFONSO’s apartment at 1173 Colgate Avenue, Apt. 2F, in the Bronx and recovered over 22 grams of heroin and 4-ANPP, a precursor to fentanyl and some fentanyl analogues included on the list of controlled substances in New York State. Police recovered the narcotics from a closet of ILDEFONSO’s twin daughters, who were also present at the residence. ILDEFONSO was placed under arrest.
In May 2018, the wiretap investigation expanded to include defendants JOSE ROSA, DANNY SANTANA and JULIO DELACRUZ, who allegedly worked together to supply drug distribution groups with heroin and cocaine. A bodega at West 107th Street and Manhattan Avenue served as their base of operations. SANTANA allegedly trafficked in cocaine while DELACRUZ allegedly supplied heroin.
The court authorized wiretap revealed that ROSA, SANTANA and DELACRUZ coordinated on sales based on the availability and the type of narcotics requested. For example, in an April 17, 2018 phone call detailed in the indictment, HANEMANN requested 60 grams of heroin from SANTANA. The following day, DELACRUZ met HANEMANN in the vicinity of 75 Cabrini Boulevard to conduct the drug transaction. Afterwards, HANEMANN confirmed in a text to SANTANA that he had seen “him.”
Several days later, on April 22, 2018, an undercover officer contacted the unapprehended individual to request 80 grams of cocaine for $43 per gram. In a subsequent call, HANEMANN and the unapprehended individual agreed the sale would take place in the vicinity of a car dealership where HANEMANN worked.
SANTANA and HANEMANN then engaged in a text message conversation in which HANEMANN requested 90 grams of cocaine and agreed to meet at the car dealership at 4059 Boston Road in the Bronx. The following day, April 23, 2018, the unapprehended individual and HANEMANN met with the undercover officer at the corner of Dyre Avenue and Conner Street in the Eastchester section of the Bronx and exchanged nearly 80 grams of cocaine for approximately $3,440 cash.
In another sale, on July 20, 2018, ROSA and alleged drug distributor LEON GREATHOUSE engaged in a phone call in which GREATHOUSE asked to purchase crack-cocaine. ROSA stated that his “young homie” would be coming. At approximately 4:20 p.m. that day in the vicinity of 412 West 126th Street in Manhattan SANTANA handed a white rocky substance to GREATHOUSE. Police arrested GREATHOUSE immediately following the transaction and seized the crack-cocaine.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon, members of her office’s Trial Division and the NYPD’s Criminal Enterprise Investigation Section for their work on the investigation. Ms. Brennan also thanked Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, “Selling deadly fentanyl became a banal, everyday affair for members of this drug ring. One regularly commuted from his Bronx residence to his former borough, Staten Island, on the ferry. He put a sinister spin on “Take your Kids to Work Day” when he brought his children along for a meal at Applebee’s while he conducted a drug transaction at the bar. I commend Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon and his staff, the NYPD and all of our law enforcement partners for tenaciously tracing the daisy chain of potent fentanyl dealers across the city to find the highest level suppliers.”
Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said, “These arrests represent another significant step in our fight against those responsible for fueling the heroin and fentanyl epidemic on Staten Island and throughout the City. As we continue to see lives lost to addiction illness, it remains crucial that we hold the dealers accountable for peddling this poison in our communities. I thank Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan and her team for their tireless efforts on this case, and we will continue working together along with our partners in the NYPD to put dealers behind bars.”
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said, “Abuse of heroin and fentanyl has cut a wide swath across our nation, and affects people in every walk of life across neighborhoods throughout New York City. To combat this scourge, we are seeking to shut down the supply and, ultimately, to save lives. I commend the investigators in this case, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, and the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office for helping stem the opioid crisis.”
The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.Download Press Release
Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office
New York City Police Department