FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Twenty-Five Defendants Named in 368-Count Indictment
For Operating Heroin Trafficking Ring;
Williamsburg Man, His Mother and Siblings among Those Charged
Alleged Distribution and Sales of More Than $1.5 Million a Year,
Including to a Court Employee Who Acted As Staten Island Supplier
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced that 25 defendants, including a Williamsburg man and a Midtown Community Court employee, have been variously charged in a 368-count indictment with conspiracy, sale and possession of a controlled substance and money laundering.
District Attorney Thompson said, “There’s a growing heroin epidemic in New York and other parts of the country that’s taking the lives of many of our young people hooked on this deadly and highly-addictive drug. We must deal with this quiet drug plague by going after those who peddle this poison in our communities. The indictment of these 25 defendants, who include a court employee, an aspiring drug counselor, a 24-year-old man, his mother, sister, brother and two cousins, shows our determination to prevent any more families from being destroyed by heroin.”
Commissioner Bratton said, “The epidemic of heroin use continues to destroy the lives of countless individuals and their families. As alleged, the persons responsible for this heroin trafficking ring operated a network comprised of family and associates to distribute this deadly drug. But thanks to the investigators of the Brooklyn North Gang Squad and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, this criminal operation has been dismantled.”
The District Attorney said that the investigation was conducted using electronic, video and physical surveillance, and that the indictment charges that between January 2015 and this month the defendants conspired to possess and sell heroin in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan. It is alleged that Josie Tavera, 25, of Williamsburg, was at the nexus of the distribution ring, and that several of his family members helped him flood the streets of Brooklyn and the rest of New York City with heroin sold under various brands including “Knockout,” “Takeover,” “Power Hour,” “Killing Time,” “Pure,” “Gucci,” and “Scorpion.”
In addition to Tavera’s family, it is alleged, two other key defendants are Jason Collazo, 36, and Michael Mineo, 37, both of Staten Island. Collazo, who works in the Midtown Manhattan Community Court as a community service supervisor, allegedly used the Court’s phone to coordinate heroin transactions, purchased heroin from Tavera, and distributed it to several individuals in Brooklyn and Staten Island, including Mineo, who has studied substance abuse at the College of Staten Island and has identified himself to police as a drug counselor.
Specifically, according to the investigation, it is alleged that much of the drug-related activity occurred in and around Tavera’s Driggs Avenue apartment. Several people allegedly supplied Tavera with heroin, including his brother, Jose Taveras, and Jose Sosa. Tavera, in turn, supplied a number of individuals with a large quantity of heroin to be resold, including defendants Collazo, Adam Almodovar and Pablo Soto.
One of Tavera’s biggest customers is alleged to be Collazo, who directed defendants Jonathan Cruz and Albert Alvarez, who acted as couriers, to pick up heroin from Tavera and bring it back to Collazo’s Staten Island home. He in turn allegedly sold it to his largest Staten Island customer, Michael Mineo, who in turn allegedly sold it to his customers there.
In addition to receiving the heroin from his brother, Tavera’s other family members are also accused of participating in the ring, including his sister, Sheila Taveras, a.k.a., Tavera, 26, of Jamaica, Queens, who allegedly packaged, delivered and distributed heroin; his cousin, Gustavo Taveras, 27, of Bushwick, Brooklyn, who allegedly supplied him with heroin as well as purchased heroin from him; another cousin, Christian Rodriguez, 24, of the Bronx, who allegedly supplied him with heroin; and Tavera’s mother, Haydee Cordero, 46, of Williamsburg, who is accused of money laundering for allegedly depositing proceeds from heroin sales into her bank account to disguise the origin of the funds.
Of the 25 defendants, 22 were arrested yesterday and two others are already in custody on other charges. Most of the defendants were arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen. The outstanding defendant is being actively sought by the NYPD. All of the defendants are charged with second-degree conspiracy, which is a B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. They are variously charged with first-, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; first-, second-, third-, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree money laundering.
Furthermore, 16 additional defendants, who were allegedly customers and couriers, were arrested during the course of the investigation at which time a ½ kilo of heroin and a ½ ounce of cocaine were recovered.
The District Attorney thanked the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office for their assistance during this investigation.
The case was investigated by Detective Michael Scoloveno and Sergeant Michael Lennihan of the New York City Police Department’s Gang Squad Brooklyn North, under the supervision of Captain Stephen Espinoza, Deputy Chief Kevin Catalina, Commanding Officer of the Gang Division and the overall supervision of Chief Thomas Purtell, Commanding Officer of the Organized Crime Control Bureau.
Assistant District Attorneys Jason Goldberg and James Slattery of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau are prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Jonathan R. Sennett and Tara Lenich, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
- Josie Tavera (Fresh), 24, of 778 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Sheila Taveras, 26, of 778 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Haydee Cordero, 46, of 778 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Geovanny Fabian (Pancho), 34, of 209 South 1st Street, Brooklyn.
- Adam Almodovar, 30, of 286 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn.
- Julian Soto (Gordo), 24, of 367 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn.
- Pablo Soto, 22, of 367 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn.
- Steven Alvarez, 30, of 571 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Johnny Tejada (Big J), 25, of 541 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Rebecca Rolon, 24, of 22 Lewis Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Gustavo Taveras, 27, of 1201 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Lawrence Harrell, 27, of 130 Clymer Street, Brooklyn.
- Gandin Matos (Geets), 30, of 233 Bay 7th Street, Brooklyn.
- Wilfredo Payano, 33, of 323 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Walter Simms, 24, of 56 Marcus Garvey Boulevard, Brooklyn.
- Luis Soto, 25, of 220 Throop Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Javier Herrera, 27, of 1151 Glenmore Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Jonathan Cruz (Pete the Cat), 35, of 121 Wilson Street, Brooklyn.
- Michael Mineo (Nevada), 37, of 272 Timber Ridge Drive, Staten Island.
- Jason Collazo (Papo), 36, of 99 Foch Avenue, Staten Island.
- Albert Alvarez, 29, of 320 Brookfield Avenue, Staten Island.
- Jose Taveras (Champ), 26, of 175 Lauren Court, Jamaica, Queens.
- Christian Rodriguez (Handsome), 24, of 84-43 60th Avenue, Middle Village, Queens.
- Jose Sosa, 25, of 62-04 Elliot Avenue, Middle Village, Queens.
- Sheila Rodriguez (Shay), 29, of 17 Chester Avenue, Congers, New York.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.