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Drug conspirator sentenced to 17 years for attempted murder

Case tried in Brooklyn Federal Court

March 23, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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On Wednesday in Brooklyn Federal Court, Luis Taveras was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto to 17 years’ imprisonment for attempting to commit obstruction-of-justice murder. Taveras pleaded guilty to the charge in January 2020. 

As detailed in court documents and statements he made at his guilty-plea proceeding, Taveras arranged for the murder of an individual whom he knew from prior narcotics transactions and believed to be cooperating with U.S. law enforcement. 

On June 21, 2016, Tavares entered a restaurant in Cali, Colombia, and sat down at a table with the victim. Shortly thereafter, Taveras stood up, walked to the back of the restaurant, and watched as a co-conspirator entered the restaurant and fired eight shots – wounding the victim in the shoulder and arm, and also wounding two family members of the victim, including a five-year-old child. Taveras and his co-conspirator then fled. The three victims survived their wounds. 

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, EDNY. Photo courtesy of U.S. Justice Dept.

Taveras was arrested in February 2019 by federal law enforcement agents in Miami. During his guilty plea proceeding, Tavares admitted that he identified the intended target to his co-conspirator, and that he wanted to prevent that individual from providing information to U.S. law enforcement. 

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Ricky J. Patel, acting special agent-in-charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI); Tim Foley, acting special agent-in-charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division (DEA); Keechant L. Sewell, commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD); and Kevin P. Bruen, Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP), announced the sentence. 

Hon. Kiyo A. Matsumoto. Photo by Jennifer MacFarlane
U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, EDNY. Eagle file photo by Jennifer MacFarlane

“The defendant planned the cold-blooded execution of a witness he believed to be cooperating with U.S. law enforcement, and watched as the witness and members of his family, including a 5-year-old, were shot and wounded. By his callous disregard for human life and brazen contempt for the law, Taveras has earned the lengthy prison term imposed today,” stated U.S. Attorney Peace. 

“A measure of justice was meted out today against Luis Taveras, whose admitted crimes not only victimized a family, including an innocent child, but sought to upend the sanctity of our collective law enforcement system,” stated NYPD Commissioner Sewell. 

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. 

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant United States Attorney Erin Reid is in charge of the prosecution.

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