Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Nelson Calderon and Angelo Deleon, members of the Latin Kings gang in Newburgh, New York (the “Newburgh Latin Kings”), and Wilfredo Sanchez and Eva Cardoza, associates of the Newburgh Latin Kings, were each found guilty yesterday in White Plains federal court of crimes committed during their association with the gang. Calderon, Deleon, Sanchez, and Cardoza were convicted after a five-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel. They are four of 35 members and associates of the Newburgh Latin Kings charged in connection with the case, 28 of whom have now been convicted, and seven others await trial.
According to the evidence presented at trial:
Beginning in 2007, the Newburgh Latin Kings and their associates sold cocaine, crack heroin, and marijuana at drug spots in Newburgh, including the areas of Benkard Avenue and William Street and of South Miller Street and Broadway. Gang members and associates protected the gang’s drug turf, drugs, and drug money using guns and violence. The violence included frequent shootings, stabbings, and assaults of rival drug dealers, including members of another gang in Newburgh known as the Bloods, as well as members of their gang who either were cooperating with law enforcement or whom they suspected were cooperating with law enforcement.
Cardoza was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to the murder of John Maldonado, an aspiring member of the Newburgh Latin Kings whom the gang’s leaders had suspected betrayed them. Cardoza drove the getaway car following the murder of Maldonado. The jury also convicted Cardoza of racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine on the Newburgh Latin Kings’ drug turf. Cardoza was found not guilty of murdering and conspiring to murder Maldonado. She faces a maximum sentence of 95 years in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Cardoza is scheduled to be sentenced on December 5, 2012.
Calderon was second-in-command of the Newburgh Latin Kings. He led meetings of the gang and directed others in their drug dealing and violent activities. Subsequent to his arrest in this case, Calderon assaulted an informant who later testified about his role in the gang. Following trial, the jury convicted Calderon of racketeering conspiracy and of attempting to tamper with a witness. Calderon faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 6, 2012.
Deleon was fifth-in-command of the Newburgh Latin Kings and also led meetings of the gang during which he and other gang members plotted to shoot, stab, and assault enemies of the Newburgh Latin Kings. Deleon also distributed marijuana, including from his home on Liberty Street, along with other members of the Newburgh Latin Kings. The jury convicted Deleon of participating in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana with other members of the Newburgh Latin Kings. Deleon faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 14, 2012.
Sanchez was an associate of the Newburgh Latin Kings who sold crack with members of the gang on William Street in Newburgh. Following trial, the jury convicted him of distributing crack. Sanchez faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced December 4, 2012.
The jury found all four defendants not guilty of possessing firearms in connection with the Newburgh Latin Kings narcotics conspiracy and found Cardoza not guilty of possessing a firearm in connection with the murder of John Maldonado. The jury also found Calderon and Sanchez not guilty of narcotics conspiracy charges.
The trial of Calderon, Deleon, Sanchez, and Cardoza was the second of three trials scheduled in the case. Seven other defendants, who are charged with murder, racketeering, drug, firearms, witness tampering, and other crimes, are scheduled for trial before Judge Seibel on January 23, 2013. Twenty-four other defendants have pled guilty to murder, racketeering, narcotics conspiracy, gun possession charges, and other offenses.
The investigation resulting in the prosecution of members and associates of the Newburgh Latin Kings was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, which combined the efforts of dozens of law enforcement officers from federal, state, and local agencies and departments, including agents and officers with the FBI; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the City of Newburgh Police Department; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the Middletown Police Department; the Orange County Sheriff’s Office; and the New York State Police. Mr. Bharara thanked the member agencies of the task force for their work in the investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Allee, Daniel Chung, Abigail Kurland, and Nicholas McQuaid are in charge of the prosecution.