View Site in:

Press Releases

Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
October 15, 2013

LEADER, SUPPLIER, AND NINE OTHER MEMBERS OF LOWER EAST SIDE NARCOTICS ORGANIZATION INDICTED ON CONSPIRACY, MONEY LAUNDERING, AND DRUG-RELATED CHARGES

Five Individuals Charged with A-I and A-II Drug Trafficking Felonies
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of 11 members of a Lower East Side narcotics trafficking organization that possessed and sold street-level crack cocaine, as well as larger, resale quantities of the drug. All of the defendants are charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, as well as other drug-related crimes. 
 
The indictment follows a 21-month joint investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Manhattan South. The investigation used a variety of techniques, including undercover operations, physical surveillance, and court-authorized electronic eavesdropping, in an effort to address persistent drug dealing among street crews on the Lower East Side.
 
“Drug dealers have no place in public housing,” said District Attorney Vance. “For years, these criminals are alleged to have run a large-scale drug operation out of the Jacob Riis Houses on the Lower East Side, a pocket of our city already struggling against crime and violence. Thanks to the heroic work of an undercover officer who managed to infiltrate this organization at its highest level, the drug dealing stops today. This will impact public safety, and enable residents to take back their community. I thank Commissioner Kelly and the dedicated teams from the NYPD and my office’s Trial Division, who spent two years building these felony cases.”
 
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “New York City police officers and especially the undercover officer in this case work tirelessly and often thanklessly to provide the residents of public housing with the same quality of life and sense of security taken for granted in other parts of the city. Although the nexus between illicit narcotics and violence is well known, the efficacy of prosecutors in District Attorney Vance’s office and those of our undercover officer and his colleagues in the NYPD’s Manhattan South Narcotics Bureau often remain unsung. I commend all of them on their dedication, investigation, and these arrests.”
 
According to the indictment, since approximately January 2012, the defendants obtained, transported, processed, packaged, and sold large quantities of crack cocaine to customers in and around the Jacob Riis Houses, a New York City Public Housing Authority development between East 8th and East 13th Streets, from Avenue D to the F.D.R. Drive, as well as at other locations. The leader of this organization – DWAYNE MITCHELL, a/k/a “Dubbs,” 35 – obtained wholesale quantities of crack cocaine from supplier SABED RAHMAN, 29. MITCHELL and RAHMAN are accused of meeting regularly over a long period to exchange wholesale quantities of drugs and cash, including at a Starbucks location in Midtown Manhattan. 
 
In addition to Conspiracy, both defendants are charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-I felony. MITCHELL is additionally charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony, Money Laundering, and other charges related to drug sales and possession. 
 
According to the indictment, the defendants used cell phones to communicate and conduct their business. They also attempted to conceal the conspiracy and alleged illegal transactions by conducting them in a covert manner and using coded language, including the terms “chicken,” “donuts,” and “food,” to refer to cocaine and sums of money. According to statements made on the record in court, the organization spent drug proceeds on expensive vehicles, including Mercedes automobiles, as well as on other luxury items.
 
Assistant District Attorneys Melanee Smith and Artie McConnell and are handling the prosecution of this case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Warren Murray, Chief of Trial Bureau 50 Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, Chief of the Trial Division. Assistant District Attorney Dan M. Rather, Counsel to the Trial Division. Senior Supervising Rackets Investigator John J. Capers, Jr., Investigative Analyst Mirela Miraj and Trial Preparation Assistant Thomas Nee assisted in the investigation. Assistant District Attorney Duncan Levin, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, is handling the asset forfeiture aspect of the case.
 
District Attorney Vance thanked Commissioner Kelly, Chief of the Organized Crime Control Bureau Thomas Purtell, Chief of the Narcotics Division Joseph J. Reznick, Inspector James Guida, Deputy Inspector Brian McMahon, Captain Eugene McCarthy, Lieutenant John Patane, case Detective Aaron Johnson, and the undercover detectives and detectives of Narcotics Borough Manhattan South.
 
 
Defendant Information: 
 
DWAYNE MITCHELL, a/k/a “Dubbs,” D.O.B. 02/06/1978 
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-I felony, 7 counts
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 7 counts
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance at or Near School Grounds, a class B felony, 15 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 15 counts
  • Money Laundering in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
 
SABED RAHMAN, D.O.B. 04/26/1984 
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-I felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance at or Near School Grounds, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 1 count 
 
FELIX BENITEZ, a/k/a “Vi,” D.O.B. 09/20/1983
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-I felony, 3 counts
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count 
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance at or Near School Grounds, a class B felony, 3 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 3 counts
 
EDITH GUTIERREZ, a/k/a “Iris,” D.O.B. 01/31/1969
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
 
CHARLES LABOY, a/k/a “Charlie,” a/k/a “Chancleta,” D.O.B. 10/26/1975
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
 
ANTHONY MARTIN, a/k/a “Ant,” D.O.B. 08/22/1975
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
 
JASON MARTIN, a/k./a “Jay,” D.O.B. 06/14/1977
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
 
FATIMA OWENS, a/k/a “Jazz,” D.O.B. 04/06/1981
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-I felony, 4 counts 
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count 
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 4 counts 
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance at or Near School Grounds, a class B felony, 4 counts 
 
ERIC RAY, a/k/a “E,” D.O.B.  02/10/1984
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance at or Near School Grounds, a class B felony, 1 count
 
RONALD WILLIAMS, a/k/a “Ronnie,” a/k/a “HB,” D.O.B. 06/25/1979
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-I felony, 3 counts
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 2 counts
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance at or Near School Grounds, a class B felony, 6 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 6 counts
 
CRAIG WITTER, a/k/a “Greg,” a/k/a “Goldie,” D.O.B. 07/15/1979
New York, NY
 
Charges:
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 2 counts 
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance at or Near School Grounds, a class B felony, 3 counts 
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 3 counts