News Release
Date: July 25, 2012
Contact: Erin McKenzie-Mulvey
Number: (212) 337-2906

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges against 25 Additional Members of Bronx Drug Trafficking Crews for Distributing Crack Cocaine
Superseding Indictment Unsealed Yesterday also Charges 12 Defendants with
Firearms Offenses

July 25 (New York)Wilbert Plummer, Acting Special-Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (NYPD), today announced charges against 25 additional members of a criminal organization based in the Allerton Avenue Co-ops and the Parkside Houses in the Bronx, New York for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Thirty of the 55 defendants charged in the Superseding Indictment, which was unsealed yesterday, were originally charged by complaint in November 2011. The Superseding Indictment also charges 12 of the defendants with possessing, brandishing and discharging firearms in connection with, and in furtherance of, the crack cocaine conspiracy.

Of the 25 new defendants charged yesterday, 11 were taken into custody as part of a coordinated operation involving federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, eight are in state custody on other charges, and six remain at large. All 30 of the defendants previously charged were arrested in November and December 2011, and the majority remain detained. Ten of the defendants in custody were presented in Manhattan federal court yesterday afternoon.

“These arrests prove that our Drug Task Force and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate and arrest organizations who use violence and distribute illegal drugs throughout our communities,” stated Acting DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Wilbert L. Plummer. “Our goal is to keep our neighborhoods safe from drug abuse and the violence associated.”

“These arrests mark another step forward in our ongoing efforts to clean up the Bronx and to rid its communities of drugs and guns,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “The defendants we charged yesterday, along with the 30 members previously charged, is a significant dismantling of these allegedly violent drug trafficking crews, and we hope, real relief from crime in these neighborhoods. But we are far from finished and our efforts will continue unabated.”

NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said “Every day, NYPD officers work to disrupt and deter the vicious cycle of illegal narcotics and street violence that destroys the City's poorest neighborhoods. I commend the undercover officers who risked their lives in this case to better those of others, and the investigators in the DEA who worked with the NYPD to shut down these crack-cocaine dealers in the Allerton Avenue Co-ops and the Parkside Houses.”

As alleged in the Superseding Indictment and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:

Between October 2006 and December 2011, undercover officers with the NYPD made hundreds of purchases of “crack” cocaine from drug dealers in the Allerton Avenue Co-ops and Parkside Houses. During the buys, officers were able to purchase significant street level quantity of crack seven days a week, and 24-hours a day. In addition, members of the drug trafficking organization used firearms, threats of violence and violence to secure and enforce their drug territory.

Marquis Branch, Bernard Miles, Yackeem McFarlane, Elvin Skelton, Armani Cummings, Benny Monday, Christopher Nwanko, Bryan Rhodes, Dasean Rhodes, Joell Tomlinson, James Evans, Richard Polite, Faheem Taylor, Justin Freytes, Allen Colon, Jamel Wright, Christopher Polanco, Charles Matthews, Carlos Ponce, Richard Barnwell, Shawn Wedderburn, Carolin Perez, Iris Clase, Karen Baxton, Verleria Thomas, Twiler Howard, Juanita Tucker, Donnell Harris, Clyde Jones, Jeffrey Pressley, Victor Andrades, Troy Owens, Rasheed Binns, Joshua Perrington, Jerry Butler, Basil Jamison, Kenneth Ackles, Felipe Acevedo, Jose Nicole, Nicolas Mills, Michael Thompson, Dimitri Alvarado, Gregory Mills, Theodore Johnson, Anthony Washington, Shawn Lipscomb, Rodney Hines, Slaigan Baker, David Irizarry, Frederick Tomlinson, Dennis Bynum, Anita Garret, Wayne Lowery, Louis Carattini, and Latasha Johnson are charged with conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

McFarlane, Nwanko, Cummings, Rhodes, Colon, Matthews, Miles, Ponce, Skelton, Andrades, Johnson and Nicole are also charged with possessing, brandishing and discharging firearms in connection with the drug crimes.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA and the NYPD. He added that the investigation is continuing.

The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office's Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Hadassa Waxman, Timothy D. Sini, and Michael Ferrara are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.