Police Impersonators And Bronx Drug Dealer Charged With Narcotics And Firearm Offenses

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Aerial view of the Bronx, New York City

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Keechant Sewell, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today that RASHIEM COUNCIL, PARIS FULTON, and TERRENCE MCKEE, were charged by Complaint for their participation in a drug trafficking conspiracy and their use of firearms in connection with that conspiracy.  A fourth defendant, MICHAEL GARCIA, was charged in the same Complaint with possessing with the intent to distribute cocaine.  The defendants were arrested yesterday, GARCIA was presented today in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses. COUNCIL will be presented later today, and FULTON and MCKEE will be presented tomorrow before Judge Moses.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “As alleged, three of the defendants posed as law enforcement officers and brandished a firearm during a home invasion in which they took approximately three kilograms of cocaine and proceeds from narcotics dealing.  Such brazen and dangerous conduct will not be tolerated.  Thanks to the work of the NYPD and federal law enforcement, these defendants face significant federal charges for their alleged crimes.”

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said: “Today’s criminal complaint once again highlights the NYPD’s swift work to neutralize the most violent elements of an alleged narcotics enterprise. Our covenant with New Yorkers is to always answer their calls for help and to work with our partners to ensure justice and I commend the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York for their work with our officers in this important case.”

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As alleged in the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

On or about January 11, 2022, RASHIEM COUNCIL, PARIS FULTON, and TERRENCE MCKEE, dressed as and pretending to be law enforcement officers, forced their way into an apartment (the “Apartment”) in a building (the “Building”) in the Bronx, where MICHAEL GARCIA, his partner, and their two minor children lived.  COUNCIL, FULTON, and MCKEE were armed.  They handcuffed GARCIA and held him at gun point, while GARCIA’s partner and their two minor children were in the Apartment.  COUNCIL, FULTON, and MCKEE, demanded to know where GARCIA kept his drugs and drug money in the Apartment, and GARCIA showed them.  COUNCIL, FULTON, and MCKEE stole approximately one hundred and sixty thousand dollars in narcotics proceeds and approximately three kilograms of cocaine from GARCIA.

After stealing the drugs and the money, COUNCIL, FULTON, and MCKEE escorted GARCIA, in handcuffs, out of the Apartment and into the building’s elevator.  By then, in response to another individual’s (“Witness-1”) 911 call about the home invasion, officers (the “Officers”) from the New York City Police Department had arrived at the Building, and had just entered the lobby when the elevator door opened.  COUNCIL, FULTON, MCKEE, and GARCIA, walked out of the elevator.  They tried to avoid the Officers and continued walking towards the front door.  The Officers asked COUNCIL, FULTON, and MCKEE what law enforcement unit they were with, and COUNCIL, FULTON, and MCKEE claimed that their sergeant was waiting for them outside.  As soon as they exited the Building, however, they—and GARCIA—began to run.  The Officers pursued them.  After a short pursuit, the Officers caught up to and apprehended COUNCIL, MCKEE, and GARCIA.  During that pursuit, one Officer saw one of the defendants throw a firearm into the street.  Immediately after the Officers apprehended COUNCIL and MCKEE, the Officers found two more firearms near the Building.  Shortly thereafter, the Officers found and arrested FULTON near his car, which he had parked outside the Building.  With FULTON’s consent, the Officers conducted a brief search of the car, where they found a fourth firearm inside a backpack in the car.   

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RASHIEM COUNCIL, 31, PARIS FULTON, 29, and TERRENCE MCKEE, 33, all from Connecticut, are charged with one count of narcotics conspiracy, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, and one count of brandishing firearms in connection with that narcotics conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c).  The narcotics conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.  The firearms charge carries a maximum sentence of life and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed. 

MICHAEL GARCIA, 36, of the Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams and more of cocaine, in violation of Title 21,  United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B), which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

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The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants would be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Special Agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the NYPD’s Bronx Violent Crimes Squad, and the Internal Affairs Bureau, Police Impersonation Unit.  Mr. Williams also praised the patrol officers from the 48th precinct for their outstanding policework in executing the arrests. 

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Sarah L. Kushner is in charge of the prosecution. 

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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