Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge

March 30, 2018

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-2906

Violent Robbery Crew Member Sentenced To 18 Years’ Imprisonment For Cold Case Murder

Defendant fatally shot victim during a drug-related robbery in 1999

NEW YORK - Yesterday, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Yefferson Rodriguez-Lopez, a member of a violent robbery crew that operated in the New York metropolitan area from 1998 to 2003, was sentenced by United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie to 18 years’ imprisonment and five years’ supervised release, following his guilty plea to a murder committed in 1999 during a robbery of a narcotics stash house. Rodriguez-Lopez was arrested on the federal charges in July 2016 and pleaded guilty in March 2017.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the sentence.

According to court filings, between 1998 and 2003, Rodriguez-Lopez was a member of a violent robbery crew that targeted drug dealers in and around New York City, including Brooklyn and Queens. The robbery crew typically involved between three and five participants; some members of the crew, armed with firearms, would enter an apartment to steal narcotics or currency, while other members of the crew waited outside to serve as lookouts and getaway drivers. After a robbery, members of the crew generally sold the narcotics they recovered in bulk to other drug traffickers. Over several years, the crew stole millions of dollars in cash, approximately 90 kilograms of cocaine and approximately 14 kilograms of heroin.

On March 6, 1999, the defendant participated in a robbery of a narcotics stash house in the Bronx. The defendant and a co-conspirator waited for the victim to enter the narcotics stash house, forcibly pushed themselves in and tied the victim’s hands behind his back. The defendant placed a gun to the victim’s head and when the victim jerked his head back, it caused the weapon to fire. Afterwards, the defendant drove away with other members of the robbery crew and discarded his gun. The defendant evaded arrest for several years by using different aliases and altering his fingerprints.

Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, who conducted the investigation. The task force is comprised of agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department and the New York State Police.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Hiral D. Mehta and Soumya Dayananda are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant: -
Age: 43
New York, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-(RJD)

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