Sixteen members of a Washington Heights narcotics crew charged with narcotics and firearms offenses | USAO-SDNY

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Ivan J. Arvelo, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), Keechant Sewell, the Commissioner of the The New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) and Patrick Freaney, Special Agent in Charge for the New York Field Office of the United States Secret Service (“USSS”), announced today the unsealing of an indictment indicting 16 members of a Washington-based drug trafficking organization with conspiracy to distribute drugs in New York and with possession of firearms in furtherance of the drug trafficking conspiracy. ALEXANDER FRANCISCO, a.k.a. “Javy”, ARISTIDES RAMIREZ, a.k.a. “AR”, DAVID GLOVER, ALEX GARCIA, a.k.a. “AG”, ANEUDY ALVARADO, a.k.a. “Smiley,” JERIEL ABREU, a.k.a. “Jerry Gunz”, LAZARETH PAULINO, a.k.a. “Laz “, JOAN MERCEDES, aka “Saul” and ENMANUEL LIRIANO, aka “Chubster,” a/k/a “Eman,” were arrested today and produced before US Judge Sarah L. Cave. CHRISTOPHER SANTOS, aka “Casper”, was previously arrested in the matter. ALVIN EUSEBIO, a/k/a “Goo”, EDWARD RODRIGUEZ, and JAWAN MILLS, a/k/a “JD”, have all previously served time in other jurisdictions. RAY EDUARDO, JONATHAN RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “JR”, and EDDY CAMINERO, a/k/a “Malibu”, remain at large. This case is assigned to United States District Judge Gregory H. Woods.

US Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged in the indictment, these defendants injected significant amounts of narcotics into the community, released dangerous drugs onto the streets and put lives at risk. Thanks to the extraordinary work of our partners at the NYPD, HSI and the USSS, the defendants are now facing federal charges for their crimes.”

HSI Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo said, “The success of today’s operation represents another important step in our ongoing efforts to combat drug trafficking and firearm use in New York City, and also reaffirms our commitment to our law enforcement partners . I’m proud of the extensive investigative work our agents did to apprehend these members of the 174 in Washington Heightsth Street Crew – a crew known to deal in drugs and possess firearms. HSI will continue to work closely with the New York City Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service and all of our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to dismantle these dangerous criminal enterprises and hold their members accountable for their blatant disregard of the law.”

NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said: “This investigation, involving multiple law enforcement agencies in multiple jurisdictions, is a perfect example of how focused collaboration keeps us all safer. The illegal drug trade is wreaking havoc in our most vulnerable communities, and our job is to ensure anyone selling this poison is brought to justice quickly and successfully. This dangerous and exploitative criminal behavior will never be tolerated in our city, and I want to say thank you to the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the Homeland Security Investigations New York, the New York Field Office of the United States Secret Service, and thank you to everyone else who worked on this case and made New York City safer for all the people we serve.”

USSS Special Agent in Charge Patrick Freaney said, “The New York Branch of the Secret Service is proud to work with our law enforcement partners to protect our neighborhoods from the multitude of dangerous threats posed by criminal organizations. The Secret Service, HSI and NYPD enjoy a robust partnership built on our mutual commitment to public safety and security, and I can assure the public that this partnership makes New York City a safer place for all of us.”

As alleged in the indictment, which was unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and in other court documents and proceedings:[1]

From at least 2019 through January 2023, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere ALEXANDER FRANCISCO, ARISTIDES RAMIREZ, DAVID GLOVER, ALVIN EUSEBIO, ALEX GARCIA, ANEUDY ALVARADO, EDWARD RODRIGUEZ, JERIEL ABREU, RAY EDUARDO, LAZARETH PAULINO, JONATHAN RODRIGUEZ, JAWAN MILLS , JOAN MERCEDES, EDDY CAMINERO, ENMANUEL LIRIANO and CHRISTOPHER SANTOS ran a large-scale drug trafficking organization, including in New York City. This organization (the “174th Street Crew”) operated primarily in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan between West 174th and West 175th Streets and Amsterdam Avenue and Audubon Avenue (the “Set”). Within the set, the 174th Street Crew conducted drug dealing on the street and from several storefronts. The 174th Street Crew ran an organized, sophisticated drug trafficking operation that can best be described as a street pharmacy that sold a variety of both illegal and prescription narcotics to its customers, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine, fentanyl, oxycodone, Xanax and marijuana. The crew worked around the clock on the set and members were assigned specific shifts. Managers ensured the narcotics distribution set was adequately staffed and imposed fines and disciplinary action on members who missed work or requested proof of illness (such as a medical certificate or picture of a positive COVID-19 test). ).

Members and managers of the 174th Street Crew carried and frequently used firearms, in part to protect the 174th Street Crew’s narcotics stockpile. In addition to one firearm seized today, NYPD officers twice seized handguns from 174 people in the past 13 months — in December 2021 and August 2022th Street Crew members have narcotics supplies on set.

In simultaneous arrests and searches conducted in New Jersey and New York today, law enforcement officers seized quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, Percocet and Suboxone, as well as large sums of cash.

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All defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute (i) 500 grams or more mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, its salts, isomers or salts of its isomers; (ii) 500 grams or more of compounds and substances containing a detectable amount of cocaine; (iii) mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of heroin; (iv) mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of fentanyl; and (v) mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of oxycodone. This charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. All defendants are also charged with possession of firearms in support of the drug trafficking offense charged in the indictment, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, to be served consequent to any other sentence imposed, and a maximum sentence of life in prison .

The potential minimum and maximum penalties in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any conviction of an accused would be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams commended the excellent investigative work of the Department of Homeland Security, the Homeland Security Investigation, the New York City Police Department, the US Secret Service and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (“OCDETF”). This prosecution is part of an OCDETF operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-gathering, multi-agency approach. For more information about the OCDETF program, visit https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

Prosecution in this case is being conducted by the Bureau’s Drugs Division. Assistant US Attorneys Ashley C. Nicolas and Andrew W. Jones are responsible for the prosecution.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations only, and the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


[1] As the opening sentence indicates, the entire body of the Indictment and the description set forth herein are allegations only, and each fact described should be treated as an allegation.

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