Bosnian National Sentenced for Providing Material Support to Terrorists

Nihad Rosic, aka Yahya Abuayesha Mudzahid, 32, of Utica, New York, appeared on July 9, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry and Rosic was sentenced to 96 months in prison for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and providing material support to terrorists.


Nihad Rosic, aka Yahya Abuayesha Mudzahid, 32, of Utica, New York, appeared on July 9, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry and Rosic was sentenced to 96 months in prison for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and providing material support to terrorists. 

Rosic was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal to begin his sentence immediately.

According to court documents, Nihad Rosic, Armin Harcevic, Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, his wife Sedina Unkic Hodzic, Jasminka Ramic and Mediha Medy Salkicevic conspired with others to support the activities of Abdullah Ramo Pazara and others, including a conspiracy to commit outside the United States an act that would constitute the offense of murder or maiming if committed in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. 

Rosic intended to and did provide support and resources to Pazara, knowing that he and his co-conspirators would use the support and resources in furtherance of their combat against Syrian government forces and others. 

Rosic’s support consisted of money, which was used by his co-conspirators to purchase supplies such as U.S. military uniforms, rifle scopes, combat boots, tactical gear, clothing, firearms accessories, range finders, and other supplies useful to fighters engaged in combat in Syria and elsewhere.

Co-defendant Sedina Unkic Hodzic is awaiting sentencing; Armin Harcevic was sentenced to 66 months in prison; Ramiz Zijad Hodzic was sentenced to 96 months in prison; Jasminka Ramic was sentenced to 36 months in prison and Mediha Medy Salkicevic was sentenced to 78 months in prison.

This case was investigated by the St. Louis FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Postal Inspection Service, St. Louis Metropolitan and St. Louis County Police Departments.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Drake, Howard Marcus and Kenneth Tihen of the Eastern District of Missouri and Trial Attorneys Dave Smith and Danielle Rosborough of the Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section.

Blogs to Follow:

Justice.gov (July 2020) Bosnian National Sentenced for Providing Material Support to Terrorists

Large scale narcotics pill manufacturing operation dismantled in a residential building in the Bronx

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration New York Division Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, and New York City Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea announced the arrests of two individuals in connection with an alleged narcotics pill production and distribution operation located in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx.


Three pill press machines recovered from basement drug lab that also contained a coop of dozens of rooster and chickens

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration New York Division Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, and New York City Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea announced the arrests of two individuals in connection with an alleged narcotics pill production and distribution operation located in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx. 

A surveillance operation centered on defendant Jeison Lebron, an alleged drug manufacturer and distributor, led officers, agents and investigators with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Narcotics Borough Brooklyn South Overdose Squad, DEA Group D-24 and Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Investigators Unit to uncover a basement pill manufacturing operation at 136 W. 170th Street in Highbridge on the night of June 19, 2020.  

A court authorized search revealed the basement drug laboratory was outfitted with three industrial pill press machines, used to form counterfeit pills from illicit drugs. Also seized during the search were approximately 1.2 kilograms of suspected heroin (over 2 ½ pounds), 34 grams of suspected fentanyl and approximately 2.3 kilograms of methamphetamine (5 pounds), including a pound of crystal meth and approximately 1,600 blue methamphetamine pills.

Agents and officers were surprised to also discover 30 to 50 roosters and chickens of a breed believed to be used in cockfighting. 

A criminal complaint filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor on Saturday, June 20, 2020, charges Lebron and defendant Alfredo Goris with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First, Second and Third Degrees, and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree. 

In events leading up to the search, on June 17, 2020 agents learned that three suspicious packages weighing more than 280 pounds, and purported to contain “roll-forming machines,” or pill presses, had originated in China and were addressed to 626 10th Street, Apartment 5, in Union City, N.J.  

On June 17 and June 18, agents and officers observed Lebron accept delivery of these packages at 626 10th Street, Apartment 5, in Union City, and bring the packages into the residence with hand trucks. Lebron subsequently loaded a heavy blue barrel into the back of a grey Acura vehicle.  Surveillance teams followed Lebron as he drove the Acura back to New York City.  

Agents and officers tracked Lebron to 136 W. 170th Street, a five-story brick apartment building. On June 17 and June 18, agents reviewed outdoor video footage of the cellar door at 136 W. 170th Street. 

Surveillance teams observed Lebron and Goris entering with heavy bags and suitcases inside the basement.  On June 19, at approximately 4:20 p.m. video footage showed Lebron and Goris bringing additional plastic bags into the location.   

At approximately 10 p.m. on June 19, Lebron and Goris were detained as they exited 136 West 170th Street. 

The Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office assisted in obtaining a court authorized search warrant for the basement of that location. 

Agents and investigators recovered the narcotics, three industrial pill presses, and other drug paraphernalia, including  unused glassine envelopes, Ziploc bags, scales, packaging materials, and dilutants used for mixing narcotic drugs or stimulants.  

Counterfeit pills pressed from illicit drugs have been linked to overdose deaths nationwide. Seizure of illicitly produced pills began to surge in New York City in 2018. The defendants in this case are not charged in connection with overdose deaths. 

Subsequent to the court authorized search, Lebron and Goris were arrested. The two were arraigned over the weekend in Manhattan Criminal Court. Goris was released without bail. Lebron was held in custody to appear for a bail hearing in a prior case at Manhattan Supreme Court.  

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan commended the DEA’s Group D-24, NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Brooklyn South Overdose Squad, and her office’s Trial Division and Investigators Unit for their work on the investigation. 

“Over the weekend, two people were charged for their role in a pill pressing scheme that had the capability to produce mass quantities of synthetic drug-filled capsules,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan.  “This operation was a ticking time bomb with the capability of highly dangerous controlled substances distributed to unsuspecting users, increasing the risk of overdoses and fatalities. I applaud Group D-24 and our partners at the New York City Police Department and the New York City Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for their diligent investigation.”   

“This is the first time our office has seen an illegal pill production operation of this scale, with three active pill presses,” said Bridget G. Brennan. “The lethal combination of heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine, disguised as familiar pills, would have put unsuspecting users at grave risk of overdose.”

Charges:

Alfredo Goris, 27, of Bronx, NY; CPCS 1st – 1 count, CPCS 2nd – 1 count, CPCS 3rd – 2 counts, Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia 2nd – 3 counts

Jeison Lebron, 28, of New York, NY; CPCS 1st – 1 count, CPCS 2nd – 1 count, CPCS 3rd – 2 counts, Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia 2nd – 3 counts

The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Blogs to Follow:

DEA.gov (June 2020) Large scale narcotics pill manufacturing operation dismantled in a residential building in the Bronx

10 alleged MS-13 members and associates charged with murder, attempted murder, murder conspiracy and firearms offenses


Following an investigation by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the FBI, four complaints were unsealed Thursday in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, variously charging 10 members and associates of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, a transnational criminal organization.

The members were charged with murder in-aid-of racketeering, attempted murder, murder conspiracy, related firearms offenses and marijuana distribution conspiracy.

This gang investigation was prompted by three murders, occurring on the street, at Kissena Park and on an elevated Subway Platform in Queens.

One defendant was arrested May 13 in Maryland. Five defendants were arrested May 14 in New York and California. On May 15, four defendants will be arrested and transferred to federal custody from detention facilities where they are currently held.

“Public executions are just another sobering example of the savagery that MS-13 engages in with the alleged criminal mayhem caused by those charged today,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of HSI New York. “This multi-agency OCDETF investigation is an excellent example of how law enforcement at all levels will continue to use all available resources, aggressively exploit all available intelligence, and work as a unified team with a simple and singular goal – ridding the scourge of MS-13 from our communities.”

“The murders and crimes of violence allegedly committed by these defendants are trademark MS-13 offenses – cold-blooded, senseless and brutally violent – and pose a grave danger to the residents of our communities,” stated United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue. “Thanks to the hard work of federal and local law enforcement officers, the defendants will now face prosecution for the charged crimes. No matter what obstacles may arise, this office will not rest until our mission to eradicate the MS-13 threat is accomplished.”

“It is only through our joint efforts to relentlessly disrupt and dismantle this kind of senseless criminality that we can continue to keep New Yorkers safe. I applaud our NYPD detectives and our federal and local law enforcement partners for investigating and prosecuting this case,” stated NYPD Commissioner Dermot F. Shea.

“MS-13 members do all they can to propagate a violent, deadly image as a gang. Their calculation that shouting the gang’s name out in front of people on a subway platform will prevent anyone from interfering with a man being brutally beaten and murdered boggles the mind. Thanks to the work of the FBI Metro Safe Streets Task Force and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), their violent reputation won’t protect them from going to federal prison,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr.

Murder of Andy Peralta

As detailed in the complaints and the government’s detention letter filed earlier today, alleged MS-13 associate Juan Amaya-Ramirez is charged with the murder of 17-year-old Andy Peralta. On the night of April 23, 2018, Amaya-Ramirez and two others lured Peralta to Kissena Park in Flushing, Queens where they confronted him. Peralta had a tattoo of a crown on his chest which Amaya-Ramirez and the others mistakenly believed to be a symbol of the rival Latin Kings gang. The assailants fatally beat, stabbed and strangled Peralta. The victim’s tattoo was also slashed. Peralta’s assailants used Amaya-Ramirez’s iPhone to photograph Peralta’s corpse, while they displayed MS-13 gang signs with their hands. The photograph was found in Amaya-Ramirez’s iCloud account during a court-authorized search.

Murder of Victor Alvarenga

Alleged MS-13 associates Douglas Melgar-Suriano and Jairo Martinez-Garcia are charged with the murder of Victor Alvarenga, who was shot and killed near his home in Flushing, Queens. In the early morning of November 4, 2019, the two defendants and a third individual laid in wait for Alvarenga. The men approached Alvarenga, who was walking down the street. After walking with him briefly, Melgar-Suriano allegedly shot Alvarenga multiple times in the head and body. As Alvarenga writhed on the pavement, Martinez-Garcia also shot him.

Murder of Abel Mosso

Alleged MS-13 member Ramiro Gutierrez and alleged gang associates Tito Martinez-Alvarenga and Victor Lopez are charged with the murder of Abel Mosso on a subway platform in Queens. In the early afternoon of February 3, 2019, Lopez and Martinez-Alvarenga followed Mosso, who they believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang, onto the Number 7 train at the Main Street station in Flushing, trailed by Gutierrez. Lopez and Martinez-Alvarenga assaulted Mosso inside the subway car and then dragged him out onto the platform at the 90th Street station in Jackson Heights.

The defendants produced a gun, but Mosso wrestled it away. Gutierrez shouted in Spanish, “Nobody get involved, we’re MS-13, we’re going to kill him.” Gutierrez then grabbed the gun from Mosso and shot him multiple times, killing him. Law enforcement recovered a video posted on Facebook depicting the murder.

Conspiracy to Murder and Attempted Murder

Alleged MS-13 members Marlon Saracay-Lopez and Ismael Santos-Novoa, and alleged gang associate Emerson Martinez-Lara, are charged with conspiring between May 2019 and July 2019 to murder an MS-13 associate who failed to kill a rival gang member as ordered by Saracay-Lopez and Santos-Novoa. Saracay-Lopez, Santos-Novoa and alleged gang associate Victor Ramirez are also charged with attempting to murder an 18th Street gang member.

During the resulting shooting on August 25, 2019 in Jackson Heights, Queens, a co-conspirator wounded an innocent bystander in the leg.

Martinez-Garcia, Melgar-Suriano, Ramirez and Santos-Novoa are scheduled to make their initial appearances this afternoon via teleconference before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy. Saracay-Lopez’s initial appearance will take place in United States District Court for the Central District of California. Martinez-Lara’s initial appearance will take place in the United States District Court in Maryland.

The charges in the complaints are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of the murders, Amaya-Ramirez, Melgar-Suriano, Martinez-Garcia, Gutierrez, Martinez-Alvarenga and Lopez face mandatory sentences of life in prison and are eligible for the death penalty.

If convicted of the firearms and attempted murder charges, Saracay-Lopez, Santos-Novoa and Ramirez face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. If convicted, Martinez-Lara faces up to 15 years in prison for marijuana distribution conspiracy and murder conspiracy.

This case was investigated as part of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership that brings together the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. A special thanks to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Department of Investigation for their assistance in the investigation.

In fiscal year 2019, HSI agents made nearly 4,000 arrests of transnational gang members; of those, more than 300 were tied to MS-13.

Individuals across the world can report suspicious criminal activity to the HSI Tip Line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Highly trained specialists take reports from both the public and law enforcement agencies on more than 400 laws enforced by HSI. Contact the toll-free tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form.

Both are staffed around the clock. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

The government’s case is being handled by the EDNY’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.

ICE.gov (May 2020) 10 alleged MS-13 members and associates charged with murder, attempted murder, murder conspiracy and firearms offenses