Organization Charged With Murder, Money Laundering, and Drug Trafficking
Federal authorities unsealed a 40-count Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) indictment charging 9 individuals with participating in a criminal organization known as the “Rodriguez Enterprise”. Included is Manuel Rodriguez, a New York City weed kingpin originally arrested in October 2010, now charged with 5 counts of murder.
“We are now able to bring them to justice,” said Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
The racketeering indictment included charges of alleged drug trafficking and distribution, murder and attempted murder, money transport and laundering, obstruction of justice, perjury, and firearms offenses. It is estimated the Rodriguez Enterprise brought vast amounts of high-grade marijuana to the greater New York area, taking in over $25 million.
James Hayes, Jr. Special Agent-in-Charge of the N.Y. Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Ray Kelly, NYPD Police Commissioner, and Mr. Bharara made the announcement.
“[T]hese 9 defendants were part of a sweeping enterprise that has the blood of 6 people on its hands. . . . [They] trafficked in tons of marijuana, laundered millions of dollars, and obstructed justice,” said Mr. Bharara.
Special Agent Hayes declared: “Today’s announcement should serve as a reminder that law enforcement collaboration to combat narcotics trafficking and distribution is greater than ever.”
Commissioner Kelly affirmed this collaborative approach: “We remain committed to working with our federal law enforcement partners to continue our efforts to rid the city [of New York] of these violent criminals.”
Mr. Bharara affirmed: The investigation is continuing.
This RICO indictment was the direct result of “Operation Green Venom,” a multi-agency effort spearheaded by the HSI. The public first became aware of the operation in October 2010. At that time, during a nationwide takedown of over 50, Green Venom swept up the Rodriguez Enterprise, reportedly was part of a drug trafficking triangle funneling weed from California and Miami to New York. Kareem Burke, former business partner of Jay-Z, was arrested during the 2010 bust. He’s now serving 5 years prison time after pleading guilty to marijuana distribution.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of $25 million, the estimated proceeds of the Rodriguez Enterprise. In addition, it seeks over $500,000 cash and roughly 40 pieces of jewelry, both previously confiscated, as well as the seizure of 9 New York and Florida properties.
All 9 defendants are currently in custody or are out on bail in connection with a previous arrest.