Defendants are Current and Former Rikers Island Inmates
Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that 26 alleged Trinitario gang members—who are current or former Rikers Island inmates—have been indicted for multiple slashings and other acts of violence in jail, following an investigation by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations and the New York City Department of Correction’s Correction Intelligence Bureau, with assistance from the New York City Department of Investigation.
District Attorney Clark said, “During their time in Rikers Island, these defendants allegedly conspired and engaged in numerous slashings and stabbings that caused grievous wounds. They allegedly carried out these attacks in order to preserve and protect the power of the Trinitario gang, meting out punishment to their own members as well as rivals. We will not tolerate such brutality against incarcerated individuals and will hold people accountable even after they have left jail. We will continue to attack the pipeline of violence from Rikers Island to the streets.”
Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York, said, “Transnational criminal organizations will operate without boundaries, as in this case with alleged connections to brutal violence, slashings and stabbings while incarcerated. HSI New York will continue to pursue and dismantle transnational gangs like the Trinitarios, wherever they operate. It is with the tremendous collaboration with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, NYC DOC and DOI that this investigation took down more than two dozen members of a gang that exists only to brutalize and endanger our communities.”
DOC Commissioner Cynthia Brann said, “We will not tolerate violence in City jails, and are doing everything possible to bring those responsible to justice. The safety and security of the people who live and work in our facilities is our top priority. Our Correction Intelligence Bureau works tirelessly to increase safety in city jails, and we are proud of their hard work in this case, which involved collaboration with fellow law enforcement partners citywide. Gang activity drives a disproportionate amount of violence on city streets and amongst those in custody, and because of the indictments announced today both communities are safer.”
The 69-count indictment includes five counts of Attempted Gang Assault in the first degree, 14 counts of Attempted Assault in the first degree, 31 counts of second-degree Assault, two counts of Attempted Assault in the second degree, fourth and fifth-degree Conspiracy, 16 counts of third-degree Assault, and Attempted Assault in the third degree. Twelve defendants-- six of them who are inmates in Rikers Island and six who had previously been discharged from custody--were arraigned this week before Bronx Supreme Court Justice George Villegas. They are due back in court on July 9, 2020. Four defendants have not been apprehended as of yet and the remaining 10 defendants will be produced from State and Federal custody for arraignment.
According to the investigation, dubbed “Operation Green Fury” for the gang’s color, the defendants allegedly carried out a total of 14 violent acts in the jail between September 2015 and July 2019. Half of those incidents were against rival gang members, and half against fellow Trinitarios who broke rules of the gang and who were not in good standing. Out of the 14 incidents, 12 were slashings and stabbings. Some victims suffered deep lacerations, and one lost a vast amount of blood. The defendants allegedly conspired through various forms of communication, including phone calls and letters, and by using coded language.
According to the indictment, on September 15, 2017, Jovier de la Cruz, 26, Pedro Valera, 28, and Rafael Perez, 26, all alleged Trinitarios, entered the cell of Joseph Feliciano, an alleged Trinitario in bad standing, and slashed him in the face with a sharp object. On November 16, 2017, Jesus Matos, 22, Kevin Cabrera, 26, Darlin Feliz, 32, and Victor Capellan, 27, allegedly slashed Shawn Stevens, an alleged member of a rival gang, twice in the face and once in the arm.
According to the investigation, Jesus Zapata, 30, was the alleged leader of the Trinitario gang on Rikers Island from 2017 to 2018, and Hector Hernandez, 25, allegedly took command between 2018 to 2019. As alleged in the indictment, they ordered an attack against Steven Ayala, an alleged Trinitario gang member, and on April 10, 2018, Valera slashed Ayala in the face and back. About a month later, Hernandez allegedly slashed Michael Franco, an alleged member of a rival gang, in the face.
According to the indictment, on October 8, 2018, Francisco Nunez, 22, and Paul Corporan, 21, slashed alleged rival gang members Tyreek Covington in the arm, back and neck, and Deontay Boyd in the face. On July 28, 2019, Ernie Garcia, 22, Diogenes Hernandez, 19, Jerry Polanco, 21, Ariel Tavarez, 22, John Polanco, 21, and Jose Paniagua, 19, allegedly slashed Julian Diaz in the arm. On December 16, 2018, Jeremy Bello, 29, and Jonathan Davila, 21, allegedly slashed Carlos Capellan, an alleged Trinitario who was in bad standing, in the face.
District Attorney Clark also thanked DOC CIB Investigators Charles Acosta, Richard Troche, Jose Romero, and Scott Frank; and HSI Special Agents Tara Mulkearns and Luis Diaz; and DOI Chief Investigator Enio Bencosme.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
1. Jesus Zapata, AKA Jeezy, AKA Jeezy Hendrix, 30, Manhattan
2. Hector Hernandez, 25, NYS DOCCS
3. Jesus Matos AKA Savage, 22, NYS DOCCS
4. Pedro Valero, AKA Cuzzo, AKA, Montro, AKA Monstro, 28, NYC DOC
5. Francisco Nunez, AKA Buenon, AKA Buenom, AKA Buenon Pretty, AKA Sesenta, 22, NYC DOC Custody
6. Jeremy Bello, AKA Pistola, AKA Pitola, AKA Coro, 29, NYS DOCCS
7. Brayan Lloret, AKA Brayon Lloret, AKA E.T., 22, Manhattan
8. Daniel Hernandez, AKA Twitch, AKA Rico, 19, NYS DOCCS
9. Jonathan Davila, AKA Jonathan Davilla, AKA J.O., AKA J.O. Baller, 21, NYC DOC
10.Victor Capellan, AKA Tecato, 27, NYC DOC
11.Paul Corporan, AKA Grande, AKA El Cata, 21, NYC DOC
12.Marcos Espinal, AKA Ito, 23, NYS DOCCS
13.Darlin Feliz, AKA D-Block, 32, NYS DOCCS
14.Leonardo DelaCruz, AKA Peetie Po, 21, Bronx
15.Antonio Mora, AKA Chucky, 27, Federal Custody
16.Braian Chu, AKA Briann Chu, AKA Braian Berrea, AKA Brian Berrea, AKA Chino, 21, Bronx 17.Dennis Miller, AKA Menace, 26, Queens
18.Jovier DelaCruz, 26, NYS DOCCS
19.Kelvin Cabrera, AKA Kevin Cabrera, 26, Bronx
20.Rafael Perez, AKA Haivita, 26, NYS DOCCS
21.Ariel Tavarez, 22, Queens
22.Ernie Garcia, 22, Manhattan
23.Diogenes Hernandez, AKA J.J., 19, Bronx
24.Jerry Polanco, 21, Brooklyn
25.Jose Panigua, AKA Bad Bunny, 19, NYC DOC
26.John Polanco, 21, Manhattan