First Arrests in New York of DEA’s Operation Overdrive
Eight Defendants Charged in Manhattan Federal Court for Distributing Fentanyl Linked to Multiple Overdose Deaths in the Bronx
NEW YORK CITY –Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Timothy Foley, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division, and Keechant L. Sewell, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, announced the unsealing of a Superseding Indictment today charging Jesus Cabrera, a/k/a “Gee,” Michael Amaya, a/k/a “Miz,” and Alberto Concepcion, a/k/a “Chino,” with participating in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl that resulted in the August 25, 2021, death of Malik Rahman in the Bronx, New York. Humberto Borges, a/k/a “Berto,” Frankie Capellan, a/k/a “Nitty,” Willie Harris, a/k/a “Light,” Luis Ramirez, a/k/a “Flaco Construction,” a/k/a “Lou,” and Jose Figueroa, a/k/a “Chelo,” were also charged in the Superseding Indictment as members of the conspiracy. Cabrera, Concepcion, and Borges were arrested today in the Bronx, Figueroa was arrested today in Brooklyn, and Ramirez was arrested today in West New York, New Jersey. Amaya, who was charged in the original Indictment, was already in federal custody. Capellan and Harris remain at large. The defendants who were arrested today will likely be presented this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, the defendants operated a network for the distribution of highly addictive and dangerous drugs. Despite knowing about the deadly effects of fentanyl, Cabrera and his crew continued to sell countless doses throughout the Bronx. As alleged, glassines stamped with the defendants’ logo were found at the scene of multiple overdoses over the past year. Today’s arrests are part of our continued commitment, along with our law enforcement partners, to stop the flow of fentanyl onto the streets of New York City and to bring to justice the dealers and suppliers who push this poison.”
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Timothy Foley said: “Zeroing in on drug trafficking organizations responsible for fueling the increasing overdose death rates is our focus. This action marks the first arrests in New York under DEA's newly announced Operation Overdrive, which targets drug-related violence and overdose deaths across the United States. Allegedly, Jesus Cabrera and his criminal network built a foothold for drug distribution in the Bronx adding fentanyl to their fire and branded their drugs for distribution throughout the Bronx with labels like ‘Supreme,’ ‘Off-White,’ and ‘Thriller,’ to not only highlight the potency of their drugs, but to appeal to users. DEA will continue our important work with our law enforcement partners to remove these dangerous criminals from our streets and restore the safety and health of our communities.”
NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said: “When you allegedly brazenly peddle illegal narcotics that threaten the lives of innocent New Yorkers, the collective vigor of our law enforcement assets will find you and stop you — no matter who you are, where you operate, or who your illicit operations harm. This is critically important work and I praise our partners, and the leadership of the prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, for working together to achieve some measure of justice for the many victims affected in this case.”
As alleged in the Superseding Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and in other court papers and proceedings:
Cabrera, Amaya, Concepcion, Borges, Capellan, Harris, Ramirez, and Figueroa are members of a drug trafficking organization that operates principally from a block on 142nd Street between Brook Avenue and St. Ann’s Avenue in the Bronx (the “Set”), where its members sell glassines of fentanyl in bulk to dealers who then re-distribute the DTO’s product on the Set and in other areas of the Bronx. Members of the DTO also sell individual glassines to users who line up on the Set on an almost daily basis. Cabrera is the leader of the DTO, and, until recently, Amaya managed and oversaw the DTO’s various street-level dealers, baggers, and lookouts, including the other charged defendants. In the fall and winter of 2021 alone, the DTO distributed an estimated five to six kilograms of fentanyl per month.
The DTO has frequently used a signature “stamp” on the glassines of fentanyl it sells. For many months, the DTO stamped its glassines with a “Supreme” logo. Starting in or around December 2021, the DTO began using an “Off White” logo, and, recently, the DTO switched to a “Thriller” logo.
Despite the DTO’s leadership’s awareness of the potential deadly impact of fentanyl, members of the DTO continued pushing the DTO’s product. Indeed, as early as on or about January 2019, Cabrera sent Amaya a link to a news article that described law enforcement’s crackdown on heroin dealers in the Bronx who were “pushing a deadly cut of heroin . . . using a new drug known as fentanyl,” which had led to a rash overdose deaths.
On or about August 25, 2021, Concepcion sold a quantity of loose “Supreme”-stamped glassines to an individual on the Set (“Individual-1”), who subsequently provided one of those glassines to Rahman. Rahman died from an overdose shortly after ingesting the substances in the “Supreme”-stamped glassine, the residue of which later tested positive for, among other things, fentanyl. Both Cabrera and Amaya were directly involved in overseeing Concepcion’s narcotics sales at that time. Indeed, in the days leading up to Rahman’s fatal overdose, Amaya and Cabrera exchanged text messages referencing certain quantities of narcotics that were going to Concepcion for resale on the Set.
Including Rahman’s fatal overdose, between in or around March 2021 and in or around December 2021, there were at least six confirmed fatal overdoses in the Bronx at which “Supreme”-stamped glassines were found on the scene and two additional suspected overdose deaths at which the “Supreme”-stamped glassines were found on the scene. In or around January 2022, there was a ninth fatal suspected overdose in the Bronx at which a “Thriller”-stamped glassine was found on the scene.
During the course of this morning’s arrests and pursuant to judicially authorized search warrants and consent searches, law enforcement recovered, among other items, approximately 1.5 kilograms of mixtures and substances containing suspected fentanyl, numerous “Thriller” glassines, ledgers reflecting the DTO’s weekly drug inventory, a firearm, and over $120,000 in cash.
JESUS Cabrera, a/k/a “Gee,” 42, Michael Amaya, a/k/a “Miz,” 40, Alberto Concepcion, a/k/a “Chino,” 50, Humberto Borges, a/k/a “Berto,” 45, Frankie Capellan, a/k/a “Nitty,” 40, Willie Harris, a/k/a “Light,” 52, Luis Ramirez, a/k/a “Flaco Construction,” a/k/a “Lou,” 36, and Jose Figueroa, a/k/a “Chelo, 57, are each charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams and more of fentanyl, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. Cabrera, Amaya, and Concepcion are also charged with causing the deaths of a victim in connection with the narcotics conspiracy, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The statutory minimum and maximum penalties 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. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD and DEA, and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Intelligence Analysts for their support and assistance in this matter. He also thanked the Bronx District Attorney’s Office for its assistance in the case.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys David J. Robles and Kaylan E. Lasky are in charge of the prosecution.
The charge contained in the Superseding Indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment and other court papers and proceedings, and the description of the Superseding Indictment Superseding Indictment and other court papers and proceedings set forth herein, constitute only allegations and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.