Seven Defendants Arrested for Distributing Heroin in the Williamsburg Section of Brooklyn and Elsewhere

DOJ - Department of Justice
DOJ - Department of Justice
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Earlier today, a complaint was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charging seven defendants for their participation in an opioid distribution ring operating in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Hawaii.  Six defendants were arrested in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan this morning, and will make their initial appearances this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy.  A seventh defendant was arrested in Hawaii and will appear later today at the federal courthouse in Honolulu.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.

“As alleged, the defendants distributed opioids day after day in our community, feeding addiction without regard for the potentially lethal consequences of their actions,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “With today’s arrests, the drug ring has been dismantled, and the defendants will now be held to account in a court of law.” 

“The epidemic of opioid abuse is a public health crisis.  Those who choose to profit from trafficking in these potent narcotics show a flagrant disregard not just for the law, but for the safety of their communities,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “As alleged, these defendants enabled the cycle of addiction with their narcotics distribution enterprise spanning the country.  The FBI will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to get drug traffickers and their dangerous products off the streets.”  

As detailed in the complaint, since the autumn of 2017, FBI agents and NYPD detectives have been investigating the defendants’ drug trafficking ring.  The investigation included physical surveillance, pen registers and communications intercepted pursuant to judicially authorized wiretaps.  The pattern of the intercepted communications and the pen register data established that the defendants were in frequent contact nearly 2,000 times during one six-month period, and that the those contacts were primarily narcotics-related.  During this time, the defendants regularly transported, repackaged and distributed heroin on the streets of New York City.  The ring was also responsible for shipping at least $7,000 worth of heroin to be sold in Hawaii over the course of several months.  In total, the defendants distributed well over a kilogram of heroin and bragged about its potency, referring to it as “fever” and “fire.”  

Earlier this morning, law enforcement executed search warrants at five of the defendants’ residences and, in total, recovered approximately 150 grams of heroin including at least 350 glassines packaged for sale on the streets; more than five pounds of marijuana; more than $20,000 in U.S. currency, more than 150 pairs of luxury sneakers valued at tens of thousands of dollars; and drug paraphernalia including a kilogram press, multiple scales, hundreds of empty glassines and stamps used to mark the glassines for sale.  Law enforcement also recovered a stolen loaded .40 caliber Glock firearm and more than 80 rounds of additional ammunition from defendant Robert Martinez.

The charge announced today is an allegation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, defendants Martinez, Victor Cruz, Jeffrey Caamano, Jason Reyes and Jason Garcia face mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years’ imprisonment and up to life imprisonment.  Alanna Kelly faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 40 years’ imprisonment.  Mia Lipton faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer M. Sasso is in charge of the prosecution.   

The Defendants:  

VICTOR CRUZ (also known as “Vic” and “VI”)
Age: 29
Brooklyn, New York

ROBERT MARTINEZ (also known as “Rob”)
Age: 34
Maspeth, New York

JEFFREY CAAMANO (also known as “Jefe”)
Age: 30
Bronx, New York

JASON REYES
Age: 34
Brooklyn, New York

JASON GARCIA (also known as “Jay”)
Age: 27
Brooklyn, New York

MIA LIPTON
Age: 38
Manhattan, New York

ALANNA KELLY
Age: 31
The Big Island, Hawaii

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-MJ-1157