Weekly Roundup of New York Criminal Cases for February 04, 2022

Last edited on Friday, February 04, 2022, at 8:42 AM.

Welcome to The Blanch Law Firm’s weekly digest of New New York Criminal Cases. Our goal is to keep the public informed as to recent events in federal courts around the country. 

As always, unless otherwise disclosed, none of the defendants mentioned in these summaries are clients of our firm.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a state or federal criminal charge, or you are under investigation by the federal government, our top-rated attorneys are here to help.

Call us now for a free and completely confidential attorney phone consultation at (212) 736-3900.

Friday, February 04, 2022

Three Arrested, Face Charges of Operating Drug Delivery Service, Delivering Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine

On Feb. 1, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Damian Williams, along with Tim Foley, the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the DEA’s New York Division and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, announced that Billy Ortega, 35, of West Milford, NJ, and Kaylen Rainey, 30, of New York City had been charged in a criminal complaint unsealed that day in Manhattan federal court with narcotics conspiracy resulting in the deaths of Julia Ghahramani, Ross Mtangi, and Amanda Scher in Manhattan, New York.

Also charged in the complaint was William Drayton, 30, of Hackensack, NJ, who was a member of the conspiracy.  Ortega, Rainey, and Drayton were arrested Feb. 1 and were presented later that day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.

According to the allegations in the complaint, from at least in or about 2020 to at least in or about 2021, Ortega, Rainey, and Drayton operated a narcotics delivery service.  Ortega was the central contact who, like a dispatcher, coordinated narcotics deliveries with his couriers’ customers.  Rainey and Drayton were two of Ortega’s drug couriers.

In one day — March 17, 2021 – Rainey, after being dispatched by Ortega, delivered fentanyl-laced cocaine to Ghahramani, Mtangi, and Scher at three separate locations in Manhattan.  All three victims died after consuming the drugs distributed by Ortega and Drayton.  Drayton was another courier who delivered narcotics to Ghahramani and others, on other occasions, on behalf of the Delivery Service.

Four Arrested on Charges Related to Overdose Death of Actor Michael K. Williams

On Feb. 2, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, along with NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, announced that Irvin Cartagena had been charged in a criminal complaint with a narcotics conspiracy in which he distributed the fentanyl-laced heroin that resulted in the death of actor Michael K. Williams. 

In another criminal complaint unsealed today, co-conspirators Hector Robles, Luis Cruz, and Carlos Macci were charged as members of the fentanyl and heroin conspiracy.  Cartagena was arrested in Puerto Rico yesterday and is expected to be presented tomorrow in federal court in Puerto Rico.  Robles, Cruz, and Macci were arrested yesterday and will be presented today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.

Former Bolivian Anti-Drug Leader Charged in U.S. with Drug, Gun Violations

On Feb. 2, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, along with Anne Milgram, the DEA Administrator announced that charges had been unsealed in Manhattan federal court against Maximiliano Davila-Perez for conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and a related weapons offense involving conspiracy to use and possess machine guns.  Davila-Perez is currently detained in Bolivia.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Denise L. Cote.

The U.S. Department of State, through its Narcotics Rewards Program, is offering a reward of up to $5,000,000 for information leading to the conviction of Davila-Perez.  Anyone with information that may lead to the conviction of Davila-Perez can email the DEA at [email protected], or message the DEA at 1-202-480-9038 using text message or WhatsApp.

As alleged in the original complaint, Davila-Perez, a former senior Bolivian government official, was entrusted with leading Bolivia’s anti-narcotics agency at one time.  Instead of rooting out drug trafficking in that country, however, Davila-Perez worked in partnership with Bolivian drug labs and sought to send more than a thousand kilos of cocaine to the United States.  

Davila-Perez further abused his position by using Bolivian law enforcement officers, armed with machine guns, to guard and transport cocaine shipments.

Two Bronx Men Charged in 2014 Murder in Harlem

On Feb. 1, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, as well as Timothy Foley, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s New York Division, and Ricky J. Patel, the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the HSI New York Field Office, and Keechant L. Sewell, NYPD Commissioner, announced that Carlos Laureano, 35.  and Nnandi Ben-Jochannan, 28, both f he Bronx, were charged with the murder of Luis Perez in Harlem on August 12, 2014. 

Laureano and Ben-Jochannan were arrested the same day and were presented the same day  in Manhattan federal court. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Paul A. Crotty.

According to the indictment in this case, Carlos Laureano and Nnandi Ben-Jochannan are alleged to have participated in the premeditated murder of Luis Perez over eight years ago in connection with a drug debt. Now, thanks to the hard work of the DEA and NYPD, the defendants have been charged for this heinous crime. 

We hope that today’s charges bring some measure of comfort to the family of Luis Perez and make clear that this Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of anyone who takes another person’s life.

Former Pharmaceutical Company Exec Convicted of Conspiracy to Traffic Drugs, Defraud DEA

On Feb. 2, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Laurence F. Doud III, the former CEO of Rochester Drug Co-Operative, Inc. (RDC) was convicted in in Manhattan federal court of he charge of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute oxycodone and fentanyl and conspiring to defraud the DEA. The conviction occurred after a two-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels. 

U.S. Attorney Williams referred to the trial as a ” first of its kind prosecution,” and demonstrated appreciation that Doud “was held responsible for contributing to the opioid epidemic in the country by conspiring with others in his company to ship massive amounts of dangerous and highly-addictive oxycodone and fentanyl to pharmacies that he knew were illegally dispensing those controlled substances to drug dealers and addicts.”

According to the allegations contained in the indictment and the evidence presented at trial, from 2012 through at least March 2017, Doud knowingly and intentionally violated federal narcotics laws by distributing, through RDC, dangerous, highly addictive opioids to pharmacy customers that it knew were being sold and used illicitly.  

At the direction of its senior management, including Doud, RDC supplied large quantities of oxycodone, fentanyl, and other dangerous opioids to pharmacy customers that its own compliance personnel determined were dispensing those drugs to individuals who had no legitimate medical need for them.

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