March 16, 2018
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
NYPD School Safety Agent Sentenced To Prison For Conspiracy To Distribute Heroin
NEW YORK - Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James J. Hunt, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement (DEA), George P. Beach II, the Superintendent of the New York State (“NYSP”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police (“NYPD”), announced that Tina Batista, a former school safety agent with the New York City Police (“NYPD”), was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin in Manhattan. Batista pleaded guilty to the Indictment on November 15, 2017. U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan imposed today’s sentence.
Batista’s co-defendants, Lazaro Mallet and Ruben Luciano De Los Santos have also pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy. On February 23, 2018, De Los Santos was sentenced to two years in prison by Judge Nathan. Mallet, who is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Nathan on April 27, 2018.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Tina Batista was an NYPD school safety agent entrusted with safeguarding our city’s schools and its students. But she violated that trust by committing a serious narcotics crime involving a large quantity of heroin and lying to law enforcement about her crimes. Thanks to the outstanding investigative work of the DEA and the NYPD, Batista will serve time in prison for her crimes.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said: “Honest men and women in law enforcement work hard to keep our community safe from all perils, drugs included. And through this investigation, the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force identified a member of law enforcement who put this city at risk by using her shield to facilitate drug trafficking.”
Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “Thanks to the hard work and partnership of law enforcement at the federal, state and local level, we have put three people behind bars who were supplying dangerous drugs to our communities. Today’s sentencing involved a school safety agent, who was trusted to keep our children safe, and was also conspiring to distribute heroin. We will continue to aggressively pursue criminals who profit from illegal drugs at the expense of the safety and security of our neighborhoods.”
According to the Complaint, the Indictment, other documents filed in this case:
On December 20, 2016, Batista, who was then a school safety agent with the NYPD, drove her boyfriend Mallet and De Los Santos from the Bronx to the vicinity of 115th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan where Mallet had arranged to sell more than a kilogram of heroin to a confidential source working in an undercover capacity with federal law (the “CS”). The car that Batista drove had a visible NYPD parking permit with the NYPD logo indicating that the vehicle was associated with law enforcement. Batista had obtained the parking permit through her employment with the NYPD.
After the CS entered Batista’s vehicle and spoke with Mallet about the heroin in Spanish and in English, Mallet provided the CS with a Gucci shopping bag containing approximately 1.3 kilograms of heroin. Batista, Mallet, and De Los Santos then waited in the area for approximately one hour to receive payment for the heroin until they were arrested.
During an interview that was conducted after Batista’s arrest, Batista lied multiple times to federal agents, falsely stating, in substance and in part, that she was not aware of any drugs, that the Gucci bag only contained sandals, and that she did not speak Spanish.
Batista had also previously conducted unauthorized inquiries in NYPD databases at the request of Mallet using a supervisor’s security code. After her arrest in this case, Batista’s employment with the NYPD was terminated.
In addition to the prison sentence, Batista, 37, of the Bronx, was sentenced to two years of supervised release.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, which comprises agents and officers of the DEA, the NYPD, and the NYSP.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sagar K. Ravi is in charge of the prosecution.