Sixteen Members Of A Washington Heights Narcotics Crew Charged With Narcotics And Firearms Offenses

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 New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and Patrick Freaney, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the United States Secret Service (“USSS”), announced the unsealing of an Indictment today charging 16 members of a Washington Heights-based narcotics trafficking organization with conspiring to distribute narcotics in New York and with possessing firearms in furtherance of the narcotics 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, a/k/a “Saul,” and ENMANUEL LIRIANO, a/k/a “Chubster,” a/k/a “Eman,” were arrested today and presented before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave.  CHRISTOPHER SANTOS, a/k/a “Casper,” was arrested previously in this matter.  ALVIN EUSEBIO, a/k/a “Goo,” EDWARD RODRIGUEZ, and JAWAN MILLS, a/k/a “JD,” were already in custody 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.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged in the Indictment, these defendants injected substantial quantities of narcotics into the community, putting dangerous drugs on the streets and putting lives in danger.  Thanks to the extraordinary work of our partners at NYPD, HSI, and the USSS, the defendants now face federal charges for their crimes.”

HSI Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo said: “The success of today’s operation represents another important stride in our ongoing effort to combat narcotics trafficking and firearms use in New York City and also reinforces our commitment to our law enforcement partners.  I’m proud of our agents’ extensive investigative work to apprehend these members from the Washington Heights-based 174th Street Crew – a crew who are known to traffic narcotics 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 for the law.”

NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said: “This investigation, involving several law enforcement agencies across multiple jurisdictions, is a perfect example of how focused collaboration makes us all safer.  The illegal drug trade wreaks havoc in our most vulnerable communities, and our job is to ensure that anyone who peddles this poison be brought to justice swiftly and successfully.  This dangerous and exploitative criminal behavior will never be tolerated in our city, and I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Homeland Security Investigations New York, the New York Field Office of the United States Secret Service, and 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 Secret Service’s New York Field Office is proud to work with our law enforcement partners in keeping our local neighborhoods safe from the variety of dangerous threats that criminal organizations pose.  The Secret Service, HSI, and the NYPD enjoy a robust partnership founded on our mutual dedications to public safety and security, and I can assure the public this partnership makes for a safer New York City for us all.” 

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and in other court papers and proceedings:[1]

From at least in or about 2019, up to and including 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 operated a large-scale narcotics trafficking organization in, among other places, New York City.  This organization (the “174th Street Crew”) operated principally in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan between West 174th and West 175th Streets and Amsterdam and Audubon Avenues (the “Set”).  Within the Set, the 174th Street Crew conducted narcotics trafficking on the street and from multiple store fronts.  The 174th Street Crew ran an organized, sophisticated narcotics trafficking operation that is best described as a street pharmacy, which sold a variety of narcotics, both illicit and prescription, to its customers, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine, fentanyl, oxycodone, Xanax, and marijuana.  The crew operated on the Set at all hours, and its members were assigned to work in designated shifts.  Managers ensured that the Set was properly staffed for narcotics distribution and fined and disciplined members who missed work or demanded proof of illness (such as a doctor’s note or picture of a positive COVID-19 test).

Related News:   Fatal Single-Vehicle Collision in Clinton Claims Life of Roland Beach Jr.

Members and managers of the 174th Street Crew frequently carried and used firearms, including to protect the stash of narcotics belonging to the 174th Street Crew.  In addition to one firearm seized today, twice in the past 13 months – in December 2021 and August 2022 – NYPD officers recovered handguns possessed by 174th Street Crew members holding stashes of narcotics on the Set.

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

*                *                *

All defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute (i) 500 grams and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, its salts, isomers, or salts of its isomers; (ii) 500 grams and more of mixtures 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 possessing firearms in furtherance of the narcotics trafficking offense charged in the Indictment, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed, and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, the New York City Police Department, the U.S. 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-driven, multi-agency approach.  Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ashley C. Nicolas and Andrew W. Jones are in charge of the prosecution.

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


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.