Seven Defendants Charged for Kidnapping, Robbery, Firearms, and Narcotics Offenses
NEW YORK CITY – Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division, and U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, Southern District of New York announced today the unsealing of a nine‑count superseding indictment charging Fernando Ra, Kenny Batista, Fernando Rosario Cruz, Yonathan Junior Garcia Valdez, Anttwan Crosbie, Elmer Gill, and Michael Ashley with kidnapping, robbery, firearms, and narcotics offenses.
As alleged in the Superseding Indictment unsealed today and other publicly available documents, the charges arise, in part, from an Oct. 3, 2020 kidnapping and robbery during which certain of the defendants brandished a firearm and assaulted two victims in connection with the defendants’ trafficking of cocaine.
Ra was previously charged by indictment with firearms and narcotics offenses, based on his possession of an assault rifle, a loaded pistol, and approximately 700 fentanyl pills.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said: “As alleged, this investigation took us to the dark side of drug trafficking that includes kidnapping, armed robbery, and assault. These arrests make it poignantly clear that alleged traffickers disregard the rule of law and will stop at nothing to continue their illegal trade. I applaud the investigators and prosecutors whose exceptional work resulted in today’s announcement.”
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged in the Superseding Indictment, the defendants were responsible for a brutal kidnapping and robbery in furtherance of their narcotics trafficking. Thanks to the extraordinary work of our partners at the DEA and the Special Agents and Investigative Analysts at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the defendants now face federal charges for their crimes”
Batista, 25, Rosario, 27, Garcia, 21, Gill, 36, and Ashley, 30, were arrested today, and Crosbie, 26, was arrested yesterday. Batista, Rosario, Garcia, Gill, and Crosbie will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron. Ashley will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy of the Western District of New York. RA was already in federal custody. The case is assigned to United States District Judge P. Kevin Castel.
A chart 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 Court.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of Special Agents from the New York Division of the DEA and Special Agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Ms. Strauss also thanked the DEA Buffalo Resident Office and the Paterson (New Jersey) Police Department for their assistance with the investigation, as well as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force New York Strike Force, Financial Investigation Team, comprising agents and officers of the DEA, NYPD, Bergen County Prosecutors Office, Fort Lee Police Department, Teaneck Police Department, Hillsdale Police Department, Northvale Police Department, Palisades Interstate Parkway Police, and Closter Police Department.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rushmi Bhaskaran and Benjamin Woodside Schrier are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
MAX. TERM OF IMPRISONMENT
Count One: Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute More than 40 Grams of Fentanyl (21 U.S.C. § 846)
40 Years; Mandatory Minimum Sentence of Five Years
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment and the description of the Superseding Indictment and other publicly available documents set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.