Southern Brooklyn

DA issues indictment on opioid peddling South Brooklyn drug ring

February 1, 2018 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A 273-count indictment charged 11 alleged drug dealers including Manuela Nunez, the sister of alleged ringleader Jorge Valerio. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane
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Led by a Brooklyn demolition worker, 11 members of a drug ring that peddled fentanyl-laced heroin and cocaine throughout southern Brooklyn were slapped with a 273-count indictment on Wednesday.

From morning to night, seven days a week, members of the ring allegedly coordinated using one cellphone, packaged and stored drugs in various locations and delivered in both wholesale- and street-level quantities, prosecutors said.

The drugs delivered in Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, Gerritsen Beach, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Staten Island made the alleged traffickers about $17,000 a week from June 6, 2017 to Jan. 20, 2018.

The 11 were all charged with second-degree conspiracy and various other charges while the alleged ringleader, Jorge Valerio, was slammed with operating as a major trafficker. He faces up to 30 years in prison and was held on $1 million bail by Supreme Court Justice William Harrington.

Family and supporters piled into the courtroom behind Valerio, 35, before he was remanded.

While his sister, Manuela Nunez, 39, is also allegedly part of the conspiracy, she was able to shed the handcuffs and sit in the court audience after Harrington released her without bail.

The judge also released three more alleged traffickers who all had varying duties from street dealing to package and storage.

While the defendants were either remanded or released one by one, Michael Almonte, 37, stared with his mouth open when prosecutors detailed his role.

“I did not sell anything; I don’t know this guy!” Almonte yelled while being escorted out of the courtroom.

Searches of various defendants’ homes and stash houses found almost $500,000 in cash and about 1 1/2 kilos (three pounds) of heroin and 1/2 kilo (one pound) of cocaine, according to a statement by the district attorney.

“This indictment reflects our continuing commitment to fighting the burgeoning scourge of opioid addiction that is spreading to too many of our neighborhoods,” said District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in the statement. “These drug dealers profit from the misery of addiction, selling dangerous drugs while destroying lives and futures.”

Throughout the country, opioid overdoses have been on the rise. In Brooklyn, overdose deaths have steadily increased since 2013 with 297 deaths in 2016, according to the NYC Department of Health. That number nearly tripled last year’s murders in the borough, at 110 recorded, according to police statistics.

The increase of overdoses can be in part attributed to an influx of fentanyl, a potent drug that is often mixed and sold with heroin.

Those indicted also included Ernest Deschamps, 27; Kevin Suriel, 24; Gabrielle Fermin, 27; Baby Amanda Suriel, 23; Joel Raymond Salas, 31; Mehdi Elyamine, 28; Nyrell Nunez, 20; and Luis Perez, 33.

All the defendants are scheduled to return to court on March 23.

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