Saturday, February 2, 2019

Approximately 70 Pounds of Heroin and Fentanyl Seized from Wholesale Distribution Network in the Bronx and Yonkers

Five indicted: Ring leader charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker under New York State’s drug kingpin statute

  Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York Division, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, New York State Police Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett and Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark announced the indictment of five individuals, including four linked to a wholesale heroin and fentanyl distribution network in the Bronx and one who represented a Mexico based narcotics supply organization. The alleged leader of the local distribution network, JUAN SILVA SANTOS, of Ridge Hill, Yonkers, is charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker under New York State’s drug kingpin statute. 

SANTOS and three co-defendants are scheduled for arraignment on the indictment today before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Abraham Clott in Part 61, 111 Centre Street. The indictment filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor contains charges of Conspiracy in the Second Degree, Operating as a Major Trafficker, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First and Third Degrees and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree.

Arrests occurred on October 25, 2018 following an investigation by the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF) Group T-32, which is comprised of agents and officers with the DEA, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the New York State Police (NYSP). A total of approximately 32 kilograms of heroin and fentanyl (nearly 70 pounds) were recovered from two locations on Underhill Avenue in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx and Ridge Hill Boulevard in Yonkers that same day. The narcotics would have carried a wholesale value of approximately $1.75 million and a street value upwards of $10 million.

Between September 4, 2018 and October 25, 2018, members of NYDETF observed SANTOS, EZEQUIEL THEN, CANDIDO DE JESUS and WILTON PAULINO come and go from the suspected drug stash location at 950 Underhill Avenue, Apt. 7K in Soundview on multiple occasions. The defendants typically arrived in the evenings up to six times per week and stayed no more than four hours. DE JESUS sometimes brought trash out to the curb rather than using the building’s garbage chute.

On October 24, 2018, agents and detectives observed SANTOS and THEN leave the 950 Underhill Avenue apartment, enter a taxi, which then traveled to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). DE JESUS exited the building and deposited two trash bags, later found to contain drug packaging materials and paraphernalia, on the curb along with the building’s other trash prior to leaving the area with PAULINO.

Sometime later, SANTOS, THEN, DE JESUS and PAULINO returned to the Underhill Avenue building with defendant JESUS VEGA GUZMAN., remaining only briefly before all departed again.

The investigation revealed that GUZMAN represented a Mexico-based narcotics supply organization and had travelled to New York City via JFK Airport. Detectives and agents also learned that SANTOS resided at 701 Ridge Hill Boulevard, a luxury apartment complex, and maintained control of a storage unit on another floor.

On October 25, 2018, members of NYDETF and the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office obtained search warrants for 950 Underhill Avenue, Apt. 7K, and 701 Ridge Hill Boulevard, Apt. 5B and associated storage locker S59. 

At approximately 6:50 p.m., all five defendants arrived at Underhill Avenue in one vehicle. SANTOS and GUZMAN went to a nearby Popeye’s restaurant, while DE JESUS and THEN went to up the apartment. PAULINO remained in the car. Agents and detectives detained the five defendants in the vicinity of the apartment building and the restaurant. 

Agents and detectives recovered nearly 18 kilograms of heroin, the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl and a fentanyl analogue (chemically similar to fentanyl) from the Underhill Boulevard apartment. Upon entering 950 Underhill Avenue, Apt. 7K, agents and detectives interrupted THEN in the process sealing a kilogram of narcotics with a heat sealer in the kitchen. Another heat sealer was found in the bathtub. Heat sealing bags and drug preparation paraphernalia were strewn throughout the apartment. Subsequent laboratory testing indicated that the kilogram THEN had been sealing in the kitchen contained fentanyl, a potentially lethal substance.

A hidden compartment inside the back wall of a closet of one bedroom contained approximately 12 kilograms of heroin and fentanyl. The remaining kilograms were found between the box springs and mattress, and under a bed in that same bedroom.

Next to a bed was a device known as a kilo press that is commonly used to re-shape mixtures of heroin, fentanyl, other narcotics and nonnarcotic dilutants into bricks resembling original packaging. A hidden compartment behind a baseboard on a wall contained plates used with the kilo press to make “brand” imprints on the kilograms, including images of a scorpion and Chinese characters.

In a search of 701 Ridge Hill Boulevard, Apt. 5B, agents and detectives found approximately $28,000 cash inside a closet in the master bedroom. Storage locker 59, located within a common area on another floor, contained approximately 14 kilograms of fentanyl and heroin inside a suitcase. The narcotics were pressed into slim packages designed to fit underneath the suitcase lining.

The particular fentanyl analogue present in the Bronx apartment, valeryl fentanyl, is not currently included on New York State’s list of controlled substances, but has been linked to multiple overdose deaths in New York City. 

DE JESUS was arraigned on the indictment on January 24, 2019 and entered a not guilty plea.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and commended her office’s Special Investigations Bureau and NYDETF Group T-32, which is comprised of agents and officers from DEA New York Division, the NYPD and the NYSP, for their work on the case. 

“The defendants trafficked in multi-million dollar quantities of potentially lethal opioids. Through a direct connection to Mexico-based suppliers, the distribution network stockpiled heroin, fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in an apartment in the Bronx and in a common storage area of a luxury residential complex in Yonkers,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Brennan. “The types of narcotics seized in this case have fueled New York City’s epidemic of overdose fatalities. Members of the public should beware that ever more potent lethal synthetic substances are increasingly mixed into the drug supply.”

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said, “This case is another inroad made by law enforcement into the heroin and fentanyl supply and distribution chain that is rooted in the Bronx, and has caused fatal overdoses in our city. We will continue our efforts to dismantle these criminal organizations as we remind the public that you take your life in your hands when you take these drugs. I thank Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan for her partnership and expertise in investigating and prosecuting heroin trafficking in the Bronx." 

“This highly organized trafficking network based their operations in both the Bronx and Yonkers in order to maximize their reach into surrounding counties,” said Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan. “By dismantling this organization, we shut down a major supplier of the deadliest drugs on the streets today: heroin and fentanyl.” 

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, “Because of the critical partnerships forged through the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force we were able to dismantle a dangerous heroin/fentanyl drug distribution network. The arrests of these criminals reinforces that we will continue to be vigilant in stopping the flow of these dangerous narcotics into our neighborhoods. I want to thank our federal and local partners for their ongoing hard work and collaboration on this case, which has resulted in the arrests and removal of five dangerous criminals who profit at the expense of our communities.”

Indicted Defendants                                 Charges
Juan Silva Santos                Operating as a Major Trafficker – 1 ct
Yonkers, NY                         Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
DOB  5/31/1979                   CPCS 1st – 2 cts
                                             CPCS 3rd – 2 cts
                                    Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia – 1 ct

Ezequiel Then                    Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
Bronx, NY                           CPCS 1st – 1 ct
DOB  4/5/1988                   CPCS 3rd – 1 ct
                                   Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia – 1 ct

Wilton Paulino                  Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
Bronx, NY                         CPCS 1st – 1 ct
DOB  1/6/1997                 CPCS 3rd – 1 ct
                                  Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia – 1 ct

Jesus Vega Guzman        Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct    
Sinaloa, Mexico                CPCS 1st – 1 ct
DOB  9/9/1983                 CPCS 3rd – 1 ct
                                  Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia – 1 ct

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and is not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

Castle Hill NYCHA HOUSES Go With Little or No Heat and Hot Water For Almost Two Weeks

    Friday, Castle Hill Houses Tenant Leader Roxanne Reid called in 87th Assembly District leader John Perez and Antirson Ortiz of City Comptroller Scott Stringer's office with her to find out why the 14 buildings that make up the NYCHA Castle Hill Houses had little or no heat and hot water for the past two weeks. The trio and other tenants there went into the management office to find out what the problem was. 

  After the second time Tenant Leader Reid was called inside 87th Assembly District Leader John Perez demanded to talk with the person that Ms. Reid was talking to. A man who said his name was Mr. Watts came out from behind the closed doors to say to District Leader John Perez that there the problem was a small portion of pipe that had to be replaced before the heat and hot water would be back to normal. Mr. John Perez having been a founder of 'We Stay Nos Quedamos' said that if there was a bad piece of pipe there would be no heat or hot water at all. He was then told that the problem was in the amount of pressure in the system which was operating at a below normal pace. John Perez then asked Mr. Watts where the replacement part was in the system, and was told the resident manager had to approve the purchase order. John Perez then asked where that person was, and was told inside two doors down. John Perez insisted that the resident manager be given the purchase order, which was signed within twenty minutes. 

News outlets Altice Cable News 12 and Telemundo (Channel 47) arrived at the NYCHA Castle Hill Houses to be led on a tour of various apartments where different problems such as an ice buildup on the inside window, cold walls, wet walls, broken windows, windows that did not close properly (which John Perez closed a couple after several attempts), and other problems in the apartments where work orders were opened and then closed by the Maintenance Department of the Castle Hill Houses without being corrected. 

In talking to 87th Assembly District Leader John Perez Saturday, he informed me that an elderly woman with health problems died during this lack of heat and hot water. He did not want to release her name until the family gives the approval to. John Perez said that he will be calling for an investigation of the two week outage of heat and hot water, and what part it played in the death of the elderly woman. 

Above - R-L, Mr. Antirson Ortiz Bronx Borough Liason for City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Castle Hill Tenant Leader Roxanne Reid, 87th Assembly District Leader John Perez, and unsatisfied residents of the Castle Hill Houses.
Below - 87th Assembly District Leader John Perez gets ready to talk with Mr. Watts of the Castle Hill NYCHA Houses. It was nice and warm inside the management office.

Above - This woman said no photos inside the management office.
Below - Another problem in the bathroom apartment that is not being taken care of. The pipe coming from the above apartment toilet leaks over this toilet and floor of the bathroom. This is a very hazardous situation which can spread many different types of diseases from the leaking toilet water from the above apartment.

Comptroller Stringer Statement on NYCHA

NYCHA Buildings

“Now they want a monitor?  NYCHA already has monitors – its residents who have suffered from decades of disinvestment.  They’re the parents who sought help when their child got lead poisoning.  The grandmother who has to huddle near a stove when it’s colder inside her apartment than outside.  And the family dealing with health issues because of rampant mold in their home.
“The time for talk and political stunts is over.  Cut the long overdue check from the federal government to fully fund the needed repairs, listen to the real NYCHA monitors, put a plan in place, and get to work.”

Comptroller Stringer, Council Member Brannan and Advocates Call on City Charter Revision Commission to Make Sweeping Changes as Thousands of Non-Profits Go Unpaid by the City for Months

New Comptroller Stringer report shows administration submits 89% of City contracts for human services – serving the most vulnerable New Yorkers – late for registration, after the contract start date
In FY18, contracts submitted over a year late for registration were on average 589 days late
Coalition calls for strict contract processing timelines and new, transparent tracking system for all contracts
  New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Council Member Justin Brannan, joined by a coalition of advocates and non-profit organizations, called on the City Charter Revision Commission to make significant procurement reforms in the City Charter as a new report issued by the Comptroller’s Office, Still Running Late, found pervasive delays in the City’s contracting system. These delays are especially rampant among human services contracts – the main focus of the Comptroller’s report – with 89% of new and renewal contracts being submitted late for registration, which delays payments by the City. Yet, this problem does not only affect human services contracts – 80% of new and renewal contracts across all agencies and industries were submitted late in FY 2018.
Delayed contract registration causes serious problems because vendors can only receive payment once a contract is registered. The situation is particularly dire for non-profit human service organizations that serve some of the City’s most vulnerable populations – including seniors, the homeless, and children. Despite working with limited resources, these mission-driven organizations do not stop delivering meals to homebound seniors or providing shelter to homeless families when their contracts aren’t registered. Instead, cash-strapped non-profits often take out loans or put themselves at financial risk to continue offering services until contracts are registered and they can be paid.
“Non-profit organizations are the backbone of our city, supporting hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers that rely on them for food, shelter, and in some cases, survival. Yet many of the organizations these New Yorkers rely on are just one step away from financial disaster, and it’s a crisis of the City’s own making,” said Comptroller Stringer.  “We must pay these organizations on time for the services they deliver. That’s why we need to reform our city’s contracting system to make sure contracts are reviewed and registered within strict timeframes, and that the process is transparent. The City Charter Commission has a real opportunity to not only help non-profits, but the residents who rely on their services.”
“Our city’s human service providers are in crisis due to a badly broken procurement system. We cannot continue asking these vital non-profit organizations to do more and more with less and less when we rely on them to provide essential services to New Yorkers who need it most. These organizations need to be paid on time and paid fairly for the critical work they do. Comptroller Stringer’s report clearly demonstrates that major reforms are needed to right this wrong. I strongly support the reforms laid out in the report and urge the City Charter Commission to act immediately,” said Council Member Justin Brannan.
The City’s procurement process involves oversight from a number of agencies before a contract can be registered with the Comptroller’s office. While oversight is crucial, the length of time it takes for a contract to work its way through all stages of review – most of which do not have deadlines – is a primary source of contract delays. Making matters worse, there is no public-facing system for tracking contracts as they make their way through the various stages of review, leaving non-profits and other vendors in the dark about the status of their contracts.
Vital Services Threatened by Late Human Services Contracts
The Comptroller’s report examined human services contracts, and found the City administration submitted 89% of them for registration after the contract start dates had already passed, and that more than half of these contracts were late by more than six months. What’s more, the latest contracts – those that were submitted by the City for registration more than one year after the contract start date – were even later in FY18 than they were in FY17, by an average of 37 days.
The report analyzes 2,262 human service contracts submitted by the administration for registration after their start date in FY18. As the chart below illustrates, over 52% of these contracts were submitted for registration six months or more after the contract start date had already passed (32.4% were more than six months late and another 19.7% were over a year late). Meanwhile, of the almost 20% of human service contracts that were submitted over one year late, the average number of dates late was a whopping 541.
Timeframes Work but are Non-Existent for Most Oversight Agencies
While the Comptroller’s report found widespread problems in the agency contracting process, by comparison, the analysis found that once contracts are submitted to the Comptroller’s Office by City agencies, 96% were registered within 30 days, as required by the City Charter.
To help alleviate the burden placed on non-profits and other vendors that wait months for contracts to make it through the City’s review process, Comptroller Stringer is calling on the City Charter Revision Commission to advance reforms including:
Instituting strict timeframes for City agencies with an oversight role in the procurement process to complete their tasks.
The Comptroller’s Office is currently the only agency with a role in the City’s procurement process that performs its duties within a specified timeframe (30 days). All other oversight agencies perform their tasks without mandated timeframes, or with timeframes that can be easily waived, which leads to a drawn out process and a lack of accountability among agencies.
Creating a transparent contract tracking system that would allow vendors to view the status of their contracts.
Non-profits and other vendors that do business with the City of New York have very limited visibility into the contracting process. Most vendors typically wait many months or longer for a contract to be registered, but have no idea what is actually happening to their contract during that time. To increase transparency, the City should create a tracking system that allows vendors to follow their contracts throughout each stage of the procurement process, and track how much time each agency is taking to execute their tasks.

A Statement from Assembly Member and Public Advocate Candidate Michael Blake on the Metropolitan Detention Center

“The inhumane conditions that inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center have suffered is unacceptable. New Yorkers in the criminal justice system are human beings and they have rights. There is no excuse for subjecting people to dangerous conditions. While conditions have improved since yesterday, heat and electricity must be provided for the entire center immediately or the inmates must be moved to safety. We demand an investigation into how this problem has been allowed to persist, and those responsible must be held accountable."

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces New Agreement For Fundamental Reform At NYCHA

Administrative Agreement Requires NYCHA to Remedy Living Conditions under Supervision of a Federal Monitor and Obligates New York City to Provide $1.2 Billion in New Capital Funding over the Next Five Years as Well as Other Monies

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”), Ben Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), and Andrew Wheeler, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), announced today the signing of an administrative agreement (“Agreement”) with the NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY (“NYCHA”) and the CITY OF NEW YORK (the “City”) requiring NYCHA, under the supervision of a federal monitor, to fundamentally reform its operations and remedy living conditions for its residents, including lead paint hazards, mold growth, pest infestations, lack of heat, and inadequate elevator service.  The Agreement, which went into effect immediately and does not require court approval, resolves the United States’ claims against NYCHA detailed in the Complaint filed in United States District Court on June 11, 2018 (the “Complaint”), which will be dismissed without prejudice.  The Complaint alleged that for years NYCHA had violated and was continuing to violate basic federal health and safety regulations, including regulations requiring NYCHA to protect children from lead paint and otherwise provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing.  The Complaint further alleged that NYCHA repeatedly made false statements to HUD and the public regarding its lead paint compliance, and intentionally deceived HUD inspectors.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated:  “NYCHA’s failure to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing is simply unacceptable, and illegal.  Children must be protected from toxic lead paint, apartments must be free of mold and pest infestations, and developments must provide adequate heat in winter and elevator service.  This Office has not wavered from its commitment to better living conditions for NYCHA residents.  Today’s Agreement will improve the lives of the more than 400,000 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home.  The Agreement goes beyond the prior proposed Consent Decree by providing strict, enforceable standards that NYCHA must meet by particular deadlines for the five critical living conditions, including requiring both the immediate remediation of lead paint in apartments with children under 6 years old and, over time, 100 percent abatement of all lead paint in all NYCHA developments, as well as a change in NYCHA leadership.”
HUD Secretary Ben Carson said:  “This is a very positive outcome, one that I believe can bring meaningful change to living conditions of the many thousands of families who depend upon NYCHA for their housing.  But there is still a lot of work to be carried out.  We look forward to continuing what has been a productive working relationship with the Mayor and his team.  HUD will continue to advocate for the hundreds of thousands of children, women, and men in New York City whose lives and livelihoods depend on having safe, fair, and affordable housing.  They deserve nothing less.”
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said:  “Under today’s agreement, New York City commits to provide the resources and institutional reforms needed to end NYCHA’s pattern and practice of endangering the health of children living in New York’s public housing.  EPA will be vigilant and is prepared to reinstate our litigation should they fail to meet those commitments and continue to harm children by violating lead paint safety regulations.”
Based on NYCHA’s misconduct as detailed in the Complaint, the Secretary of HUD declared today that NYCHA is in substantial default of its covenant to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing.  The purpose of the Agreement is to remedy the deficient physical conditions in NYCHA properties, ensure that NYCHA complies with its obligations under federal law, reform the management structure of NYCHA, and facilitate cooperation and coordination between HUD, NYCHA, and the City.
Specifically, the Agreement requires NYCHA to remediate living conditions at NYCHA properties by specific deadlines and meet strict, objective compliance standards regarding lead paint hazards, mold growth, pest infestations, and inadequate heating and elevator service.  With respect to lead paint hazards, for example, the Agreement requires NYCHA to take action within 30 days to visually inspect all non-exempt units built before 1978 where NYCHA believes a child under 6 resides or routinely visits and remediate any deteriorated lead-based paint in the apartment, and, over time, to abate all lead paint in all NYCHA developments.  The Agreement further obligates NYCHA to establish three new critical functions:  a Compliance Department, an Environmental Health and Safety Department, and a Quality Assurance Unit.  In addition, the Agreement requires the City to select a new chief executive officer for NYCHA from a list of qualified professionals jointly compiled by HUD, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the City. 
The Agreement also renews the City’s commitment, reflected in the June 2018 proposed Consent Decree, to provide an additional $1 billion in capital funds to NYCHA over the next four years and an additional $200 million in capital funds each subsequent year for the duration of the Agreement.  Also, the agreement locks in an additional $4 billion in City funds budgeted through 2027.
Pursuant to the Agreement, a federal monitor, selected by HUD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in consultation with NYCHA and the City, will oversee NYCHA’s reform efforts.  Beyond the specifically enumerated remedial actions required under the Agreement, NYCHA will develop action plans, subject to the monitor’s approval, to remediate living conditions at NYCHA and meet the compliance standards set forth in the Agreement.  The monitor and NYCHA also will collaboratively develop a plan to overhaul NYCHA’s organizational, management, and workforce structure, informed by a new comprehensive study from an independent third-party consultant.  Throughout the term of the Agreement, the monitor is required to engage with the community, including NYCHA residents, resident groups, and stakeholders, regarding matters covered by the Agreement, and provide public reports detailing NYCHA’s progress.  The cost of the monitor shall be paid by the City.
Mr. Berman thanked HUD, HUD Office of Inspector General, and EPA for their invaluable assistance in this matter.

Three Additional Members And Associates Of Violent New York City Gang Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Racketeering And Firearms Offenses

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), John B. Devito, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing today of a Superseding Indictment charging three additional individuals, ANTHONY ELLISON, a/k/a “Harv,” DENARD BUTLER, a/k/a “Drama,” and KINTEA MCKENZIE, a/k/a “Kooda B,” with racketeering and firearms offenses in connection with their membership in and association with the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, also known as “Nine Trey.”  A fourth defendant, KIFANO JORDAN, a/k/a “Shotti,” who was named in the original indictment, faces additional racketeering and firearms charges.BUTLER was arrested yesterday.  ELLISON was already in custody on federal charges.  MCKENZIE is still at large.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged in the superseding indictment, the new defendants in this case, like those previously charged, engaged in brazen acts of gun violence.  Thanks to our remarkable partners at HSI, ATF, and the NYPD, these defendants now face federal charges for their serious crimes.”
HSI Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez said:  “Nine Trey has engaged in a pattern of racketeering reinforced by a reputation of extreme violence, best known for shootings, assaults and robberies in our city.  The new arrests in this case and the additional charges as part of this ongoing investigation should send a clear message to members of any gang that carry out acts of violence, that we are resolved in our joint efforts to promote a safe environment for our communities in New York City.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito said:  “Today’s charges demonstrate ATF’s and our law enforcement partners’ commitment to identify and investigate individuals that drive violent crime within our communities.  The members and associates of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, also known as ‘Nine Trey,’ allegedly terrorized the public via a variety of crimes including violent armed robberies, assaults and shootings.  The ATF/ NYPD Joint Firearms Task Force will continue to work diligently with all of our partner agencies in order to best serve the community and protect the public.  I would like to personally thank the United States Attorney’s Office for their leadership and guidance throughout this investigation.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “In working to reduce crime past already record-lows in New York City, the NYPD is relentless in our pursuit of the relatively small percentage of the population driving the violence and disorder.  We are achieving this, with pinpoint accuracy, because of the full and willing partnership of New Yorkers in every neighborhood and the unrivaled assistance of our law-enforcement partners.  I commend the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, and the members of Homeland Security Investigations and the ATF, for helping us dismantle groups responsible for shootings, robberies, drug-dealing, and more.  Together, we are making the safest large city in America even safer.”
As alleged in the Superseding Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:
Nine Trey was a criminal enterprise involved in committing numerous acts of violence, including shootings, robberies, and assaults in and around Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Members and associates of Nine Trey engaged in violence to retaliate against rival gangs, to promote the standing and reputation of Nine Trey, and to protect the gang’s narcotics business.  Members and associates of Nine Trey enriched themselves by committing robberies and selling drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl, furanyl fentanyl, MDMA, dibutylone, and marijuana.   
The Superseding Indictment charges JAMEL JONES, a/k/a “Mel Murda,” ROLAND MARTIN, a/k/a “Ro Murda,” KIFANO JORDAN, a/k/a “Shotti,” ANTHONY ELLISON, a/k/a “Harv,” DENARD BUTLER, a/k/a “Drama,” JESNEL BUTLER, a/k/a “Ish,” FUGUAN LOVICK, a/k/a “Fu Banga,” KINTEA MCKENZIE, a/k/a “Kooda B,” FAHEEM WALTER, a/k/a “Crippy,” and AARON YOUNG, a/k/a “Bat,” with racketeering and firearms offenses. 
Count One of the Superseding Indictment charges JONES, MARTIN, JORDAN, ELLISON, DENARD BUTLER, JESNEL BUTLER, WALTER, and YOUNG with participating in a racketeering conspiracy for their criminal involvement in Nine Trey.  Count Two charges JONES, MARTIN, JORDAN, ELLISON, DENARD BUTLER, JESNEL BUTLER, WALTER, and YOUNG with using and carrying firearms, which were brandished and discharged, in connection with the racketeering conspiracy.  Counts Three through Five charge MARTIN, JORDAN, DENARD BUTLER, JESNEL BUTLER, and WALTER in connection with a gunpoint robbery in the vicinity of West 40th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan on April 3, 2018.  Counts Six and Seven charge LOVICK in connection with his shooting at rivals of Nine Trey in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 21, 2018.  Counts Eight through Ten charge JORDAN and MCKENZIE in connection with a shooting at a rival of Nine Trey at a hotel in Times Square in Manhattan on June 2, 2018.  Counts Eleven and Twelve charge MARTIN, JORDAN, JESNEL BUTLER, and WALTER with agreeing to shoot an individual who had shown disrespect to Nine Trey, resulting in an innocent bystander being shot, in the vicinity of Fulton Street and Utica Avenue in Brooklyn on July 16, 2018.  Counts Thirteen through Fifteen charge ELLISON in connection with his kidnapping and assaulting another member of Nine Trey near the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn on July 22, 2018.  Count Sixteen charges JONES and YOUNG with conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, MDMA, and marijuana from 2015 to 2018.  Count Seventeen charges YOUNG with using and carrying firearm in connection with the narcotics conspiracy.  Count Eighteen charges JONES with possessing with intent to distribute one kilogram and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of heroin on November 15, 2018. 
Charts containing the names, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants are set forth below.  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 HSI, ATF, and the NYPD.  He also thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and the New York City Department of Correction’s Intelligence Bureau for their assistance in the investigation.
The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment constitutes only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation.
1 Racketeering conspiracy   18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) JAMEL JONES (age 38) ROLAND MARTIN (age 37) KIFANO JORDAN (age 36) ANTHONY ELLISON (age 31) DENARD BUTLER (age 26) JESNEL BUTLER (age 36) FAHEEM WALTER (age 29) AARON YOUNG (age 28)       20 years in prison
2 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was discharged   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) JAMEL JONES ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN ANTHONY ELLISON DENARD BUTLER JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER AARON YOUNG       Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison
3 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (April 3, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN DENARD BUTLER JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER   20 years in prison    
4 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (April 3, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN DENARD BUTLER JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER   3 years in prison
5 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was brandished   18 U.S.C. § 924(c)   ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN DENARD BUTLER JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER   Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison
6 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (April 21, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 FUGUAN LOVICK (age 40) 20 years in prison
7 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was discharged   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) FUGUAN LOVICK Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison
8 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (June 2, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 KIFANO JORDAN KINTEA MCKENZIE (age 21) 20 years in prison
9 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (June 2, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 KIFANO JORDAN KINTEA MCKENZIE 3 years in prison
10 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was discharged   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) KIFANO JORDAN KINTEA MCKENZIE Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison
11 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (July 16, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER 10 years in prison
12 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was discharged   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison
13 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (July 22, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 ANTHONY ELLISON Life in prison
14 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (July 22, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 ANTHONY ELLISON 20 years in prison
15 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was brandished   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) ANTHONY ELLISON Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison
16 Conspiracy to distribute narcotics   21 U.S.C. § 846 JAMEL JONES AARON YOUNG Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison  
17 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a narcotics trafficking offense   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) AARON YOUNG Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison
18 Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute   21 U.S.C. § 841

JAMEL JONES Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

Former New York City Police Department Official Sentenced To 18 Months For Conspiring To Bribe Fellow Officers In Connection With Gun License Bribery Scheme

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that PAUL DEAN was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos today in connection with a bribery scheme involving the approval of gun licenses by the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) License Division.  Specifically, DEAN, who as second-in-command of the License Division had accepted gifts and favors in connection with his approval of gun licenses, conspired upon his retirement from the NYPD to open his own “expediting” business in which he would pay bribes to his fellow NYPD officers, once his subordinates in the License Division, to issue gun licenses to DEAN’s clients. 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As a high-ranking officer and supervisor in the NYPD’s License Division, Paul Dean was entrusted with ensuring the integrity of the process for issuing gun licenses in New York City.  Instead of embracing that trust and focusing on the safety of New Yorkers, he monetized it for his own benefit, and enabled officers under his command to do the same.  Together with our partners in law enforcement, my office has worked tirelessly to make sure those efforts by Dean and others involved ended not with dollar signs, but in prison cells.  We will continue to root out corrupt law enforcement officers where we find them, while commending the vast majority of officers who, unlike Dean, serve the City of New York honestly and honorably.” 
According to the Indictment and Complaint filed in this case, other public filings, and statements made during the plea proceeding:
DEAN was a member of the NYPD from 1994 through 2016, and was assigned to the License Division from 2008 through 2016.  DEAN, a lieutenant, was one of the highest-ranking members of the License Division and, from approximately November 2014 through November 2015, regularly ran its day-to-day operations.  Co-defendant Robert Espinel was a member of the NYPD from 1995 through his retirement in 2016, and was assigned to the License Division from 2011 through 2016. 
From at least 2013 through 2016, multiple NYPD officers in the License Division serving under DEAN’s command, including David Villanueva and Richard Ochetal, solicited and accepted bribes from gun license expediters – including Frank Soohoo, Alex Lichtenstein, a/k/a “Shaya,” and co-defendant Gaetano Valastro, a former NYPD detective – in exchange for providing assistance to the expediters’ clients in obtaining gun licenses quickly and often with little to no diligence.  DEAN, aware of this bribery arrangement, approved many of the gun license applications submitted by these expediters, despite the fact that no substantial due diligence had been performed on them.  As part of the scheme, licenses were issued for individuals with substantial criminal histories, including arrests and convictions for crimes involving weapons or violence, and for individuals with histories of domestic violence. 
DEAN accepted things of value from the expediters whose applications he approved, including $1,000 cash from Lichtenstein, catered meals and alcohol from Soohoo, and gun equipment from Valastro.  DEAN also accepted gifts and favors directly from applicants whose licenses he approved, including free meals at restaurants, free liquor from a liquor distributor, free beer and soda from a beverage distributor, free car repairs from car shops, and free entertainment.
In 2015, dissatisfied with the fact that private gun expediters were profiting thousands of dollars per gun license applicant when DEAN and others did the work to approve those applications, DEAN and Espinel decided to retire and go into the expediting business themselves.  In order to ensure the success of their business, DEAN and Espinel planned to bribe Villanueva and Ochetal, who were still in the License Division, to enable their clients to get special treatment.  They also agreed with Valastro to run their expediting and bribery scheme out of Valastro’s gun store.  According to the plan, Valastro would benefit from the scheme because DEAN and Espinel would steer successful applicants to Valastro’s store to buy guns.  They also tried to corner the expediting market by forcing other expediters to work through them.  Specifically, DEAN and Espinel attempted to coerce Frank Soohoo, another gun license expediter, into sharing his expediting clients with them by threatening to use their influence in the License Division to shut down Soohoo’s expediting business if Soohoo refused to work with, and make payments to, DEAN and Espinel.
Espinel and Valastro have previously pled guilty and are awaiting sentence.  Villanueva, Ochetal, Lichtenstein, and Soohoo have also pled guilty in case number 16 Cr. 342 (SHS).  Lichtenstein was sentenced by the U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein to 32 months in prison, and the remaining defendants are awaiting sentence.
In addition to the prison term, DEAN, 46, was sentenced to two years of supervised release, a fine of $7,500, and forfeiture of $1,000.
Mr. Berman thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department, Internal Affairs Division, for their outstanding investigative work in this matter.

It's Down to 17 Candidates for the Special Election for Public Advocate February 26, 2019

It's Down to 17 Candidates for the Special Election for Public Advocate February 26, 2019.

By Robert Press

It began with twenty-three people handing in petitions to run for the vacant NYC Public Advocate Special Election called for February 26, 2019. Through various Board of Elections decisions and court verdicts the field has narrowed down to the seventeen candidates listed below. They are in order as they will appear on your ballot with their own non-partisan line. Their present occupation are listed, but will not appear on your ballot.

1) Melissa Mark-Viverito (Fix the MTA), former speaker of the New York City Council
2) Michael Blake (For The People), NY State Assembly member from the Bronx
3) Dawn Smalls (No More Delays), Attorney
4) Eric Ulrich (Common Sense), New York City Council member from Queens
5) Daniel O'Donnell (Equality For All), NY State Assembly member from Manhattan
6) Latrice Walker (People For Walker), NY State Assembly member from Brooklyn
7) Rafael Espinal (Livable City), New York City Council member from Brooklyn
8) Jumaane Williams (The People's Voice), New York City Council member from Brooklyn
9) Ron Kim (People Over Corporations), NY State Assembly member from Queens
10) Ydanis Rodriguez (UNITED FOR IMMIGRANTS), New York City Council member from Manhattan
11) Benjamin Yee (COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT), Entrepreneur. 
12) Manny Alicandro (Better Leadership), Attorney. 
13) David Eisenbach (Stop REBNY), History Professor at Columbia University.
14) Nomiki Konst (Pay People More), Journalist.
15) Jared Rich (Jared Rich For NYC), Attorney.
16) Anthony Herbert (Housing Residents First), Community Activist.
17) Helal Sheikh (Friends Of Helal), Former City Council candidate.

More on the Public Advocate Special Election in upcoming articles, including who are the favorites in this race, candidate(s) to look for, and any longshot candidate(s).

NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Improvements in Patient Safety Reduce Number of Deep Vein Blood Clots

Early Prevention Guidelines and Protocols Produce Dramatic Results

  Protocols undertaken by NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi in October 2016 to identify and reduce the threat of deep vein blood clots, or venous thromboembolism, have resulted in dramatic improvements.

In the first year following the protocols’ implementation, the number of cases of deep vein blood clots following surgery declined 53 percent, from 13 cases (baseline, November 2015 to October 2016) to 6 cases (November 2016 to November 2017), according to hospital-wide data. In the second year (December 2017 to December 2018), the number of cases declined to 4—an additional 15 percent decline from the baseline—demonstrating sustainability. Patient safety satisfaction scores also improved by 83 percent in the first year, according to Press Ganey data.

Venous thromboembolism refers to a blood clot that starts in a vein. A clot that develops in a deep vein, most often in the legs, is referred to as deep vein thrombosis. When such a clot breaks free from a vein wall and travels to the lungs—especially dangerous because it can block some or all of the blood supply—that is known as a pulmonary embolism.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 60,000 to 100,000 Americans die from venous thromboembolism every year. Patients recovering from surgery are at an increased risk for the condition. Other risk factors include age (starting at about age 40 and increasing over time), obesity, and cancer.

Clinicians at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi sought to improve post-surgical safety by instituting a risk assessment scale to identify the patients at highest risk and introduce special monitoring and new preventive measures into their care. Among the interventions are:

· Introduction of an intermittent pneumatic compression device or stockings to allow for compression of blood veins to stabilize blood flow, used both before anesthesia (pre-surgery) and after surgery.
· Proper pharmaceutical prophylaxis, including the use of drugs like heparin only after applying the risk assessment scale.
· One-on-one consultations with all at-risk patients, addressing education about risk factors and warning signs. Follow-up with patients occurs at three days, two weeks, and one month post-operatively to screen for warning signs and reconfirm medication regimens.

"Between 60,000 and 100,000 Americans die every year from deep vein blood clots, according to the CDC,” said New York State Senator Luis Sepulveda. “I applaud NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi for dramatically improving the identification and reduction of the threat from deep vein blood clots. Lives will be saved through this medical innovation."

“The joint effort undertaken by the medical team at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi is nothing short of astounding,” said Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez. “To see the number of cases of venous thromboembolism, which has been fatal to so many, taken down from 13 three years ago to 4 cases last year is an amazing accomplishment. I would like to extend my most sincere thank you to the team for limiting the number of fatal incidents post-surgery and for continuing to help the people in our communities.”

The article “NSQIP Impacts Patient Experience,” published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Patient Experience, provides additional data and detail, focusing on implementation and related metrics in the hospital’s General Surgery service. (Unlike the article, today’s reported numbers reflect hospital-wide data. The sets of data, while different, reflect similar improvement.)

The article was written by Maria Castaldi, MD, former Director of Breast Health Service at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi; Geena George, MPH, of Westchester Medical Center; Pamela O. Turner, MSN, Director of Nursing for Perioperative Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi; and John McNelis, MD, Chairman of Surgery at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi. The authors from NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi are also those who led the implementation of the protocols.

The article notes the dramatic change underscoring the improvement in patient satisfaction. Before the new interventions, only four patients of 109 who were surveyed recalled having a conversation with their doctor before surgery about the risk of blood
clots during surgery, the need for screening and prophylaxis to reduce the risk, and patient safety being a top priority. After the intervention, 145 of 147 patients surveyed reported that the indications, risks, and benefits of screening and prophylaxis were explained well or very well.

“This was truly a multi-disciplinary approach among members of our medical team,” said Dr. McNelis. “Surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, and anesthesiologists worked together to identify the risks to our patients and reduced them dramatically, and more important, the results have been sustainable.”

These protocols are just one component of the hospital’s ongoing efforts to make surgical care as safe as possible.