November 08, 2018
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Fourteen members of a Washington Heights drug trafficking organization charged with distributing heroin
NEW YORK – U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman and DEA New York Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Keith Kruskall, ICE Homeland Security Investigations New York Field Office Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II announced today that Pedro Vicioso De Lima, aka “Pep,” aka “Pepo;” Victor Hidalgo, aka “Jordan,” aka “Vico;” David Perez, aka “Bori,” aka “Macho;” Jacinto Garcia, aka “Cuba;” Sixto Vancamper-Brito, aka “Cito;” Cesar Gil, aka “Ralphy;” Juan Gil Cabral, aka “Menor;” Anthony Belliard, aka “Jafet Montas,” aka “Café;” Mayra Monsanto, aka “La Flaca;” Ricky Rosa, aka “Pra,” aka “Black,” aka “Moreno;” Minerva Ventura, aka “La Bori;” Mark Viera, aka “Leo,” aka “Biz;” Romeo Suncar, aka “Stacks;” and Anonio Yeris Almonte, aka “Ciobao,” have been charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin. Eleven of the defendants were arrested yesterday evening and this morning and will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger in Manhattan federal court this afternoon. Perez and Rosa remain at large, and Gil will be transferred from immigration detention next week. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Colleen McMahon.
“As alleged, these defendants operated a distribution network of highly addictive and dangerous drugs, which has been plaguing a Washington Heights community for years," said U.S. Attorney Berman. "Even after they realized the potency of the drugs they were distributing and selling – and the overdose risk those drugs posed – the defendants allegedly continued to sell their poison in order to protect their brand. Today’s arrests are part of our continued commitment, along with our law enforcement partners, to stop the flow of heroin and fentanyl onto the streets of New York City.”
“Today's heroin is deadlier for two reasons: fentanyl potency and traffickers’ motives," said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Kruskall. "Two to three milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal. And, traffickers, not chemists, are pushing their toxic mixture of heroin and fentanyl on our streets for no reason other than money. New York law enforcement is weeding out those responsible for the record number of fatal overdoses in our city and warning users that every dose could be their last dose.”
“These individuals allegedly distributed fentanyl laced heroin out of a building on 167th street, with a total disdain for the lives of their customers," said HSI Special Agent in Charge Melendez. "This investigation rids the community of Washington Heights of alleged criminals that continue to fuel the opioid epidemic. Opioid addiction touches families and communities across our country, and we will remain focused on criminals who seek to distribute these highly addictive drugs with little regard for the lives ruined.”
“Abuse of heroin and the deadly additive fentanyl has cut a wide swath across our nation, affecting people from all walks of life, in every neighborhood," said NYPD Commissioner O’Neill. "To combat this scourge, the NYPD and our partners on the Drug Enforcement Strike Force are relentless in our work to shut down illegal drug supplies, to send dealers away with meaningful prison sentences and, ultimately, to save New Yorkers’ lives. For dismantling this alleged dangerous drug organization based in Washington Heights, I congratulate and thank everyone involved in this important case.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment:
The defendants were members of a drug trafficking organization that operated in Manhattan, N.Y., and controlled heroin sales from a building at 501 West 167th Street and the surrounding vicinity. As a means of marketing its heroin and fentanyl-laced heroin, and to ensure that the only heroin sold in the DTO’s drug territory belonged to the DTO, the DTO placed stamps on the glassines of heroin and fentanyl-laced heroin that it sold to customers. Among the stamps the DTO used were “Annuit Coeptis,” “Toyota,” “Ras Baraka,” and “Porsche.” From July 2016 to October 2018, the DTO is estimated to have distributed more than 85 kilograms of heroin, much of it laced with fentanyl.
Glassines marked with the DTO’s stamps were recovered at the scene of fatal and nonfatal suspected overdoses of individuals who were believed to be customers of the DTO. For example, on March 29, 2018, an individual died of a suspected heroin overdose in a building across the street from the DTO’s Drug Building, and glassines marked with the stamps “Ras Baraka” and “Porsche” were recovered at the scene of the overdose death, along with a slip of paper with the name and phone number of a member of the DTO. Certain members of the DTO were aware of suspected overdoses resulting from the use of fentanyl-laced heroin sold by the DTO. The DTO was nevertheless reluctant to change the stamps it used to label the DTO’s heroin and fentanyl-laced heroin because the stamps were known by the DTO’s customers, and the DTO wanted to maintain its reputation for selling a strong product.
Lima, 49; Hidalgo, 58; Perez, 36; Garcia, 61; Vancamper-Brito, 51; Gil, 26; Gil Cabral, 28; Bellieard, 29; Monsato, 59; Rosa, 32; Ventura, 64; Viera, 46; Suncar, 33; and Almonte, 26, all of New York, N.Y., are each charged with one count of conspiring to distribute heroin, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. 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 the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike, a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state and local law enforcement agencies supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
The Strike Force is housed at the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA, the New York City Police Department, the New York State Police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives , U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, New York National Guard, the Clarkstown Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Washington Police Department and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Greenwood, Aline R. Flodr, and Dominic Gentile 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.
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