FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 8, 2024
Illegal Cannabis Shop Employee Indicted for Felony Assault for
Allegedly Injuring Investigator Who Came to Shut Down the Store
Defendant Allegedly Pushed Victim Out and Closed Door on his Arm
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been indicted for felony assault and other charges for allegedly assaulting a Finance Supervising Investigator, working for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, who came to shut down the illegal cannabis store where the defendant worked.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant didn’t just defy the law by working in a shop that sold unlicensed cannabis products, but also allegedly violently attacked an investigator as he tried to lawfully shut down the illegal business. In Brooklyn, we have no tolerance for attacks on law enforcement personnel and will now seek to hold the defendant fully accountable.”
John Harford, Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, said, “Tax Department Criminal Investigators are engaged in vital work. Anyone who assaults them or otherwise interferes with their law enforcement duties should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. On behalf of the CID team and the entire Department, I want to thank Brooklyn DA Gonzalez and his office for their efforts in this case.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Arjante Moss, 27, of Downtown Brooklyn. He was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment charging him with second-degree assault, second-degree obstructing governmental administration and second-degree harassment. The defendant is facing a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted of the top count. He remained out on bail and was ordered to return to court on March 20, 2024.
The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, the defendant was an employee at Big Chief Exotics Smoke Shop, located at 7323 Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. On December 18, 2023, at approximately 12:40 p.m., a Finance Supervising Investigator from NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, came to shut down the store pursuant to a closure order obtained in Supreme Court by the Attorney General’s Office.
When the defendant realized the visitor was a law enforcement agent, he allegedly pushed him out and closed the door on his arm. The victim managed to extricate his arm from the doorframe, sustaining bruising to the left arm. He was treated at New York University Langone Hospital and released.
Agents proceeded to permanently close down the store, which has been the subject of two previous inspections by the Office of Cannabis Management, during which unlicensed marijuana products were seized and notices of violation and orders to cease unlicensed activity were issued.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Joel Greenwald of the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture and Crimes Against Revenue Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Diana Villanueva, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.