A bunch of people are in need of New York criminal defense attorneys…immediately. The New York Attorney General’s Office announced the arrest of twelve people allegedly involved in a Bronx based construction equipment and luxury car theft ring. The defendants are charged with Enterprise Corruption, Forgery, Grand Larceny, Conspiracy and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property. Luis Torres Gonzalez (a.k.a. “Sanki”), Reynaldo Estrella (a.k.a. “Ray”), Ernie Muriel (a.k.a. “Ivan”), Alfonso Tejada, Nestali Garcia Rosa (a.k.a. “Junior”), Noel S. Gonzalez (a.k.a. “Joaquin”), Jose L. Sanchez, Higinio M. Mercedes (a.k.a. “Biembo”), Kenneth Estrella (a.k.a. “Kenny”), Alton Young (a.k.a “Fat Ray”) and Jean Carlos Almontes are among the men who were targeted in “Operation Tag Sale.” According to the Attorney General’s website, these men had an organization that worked together to steal over fifty vehicles from construction sites, public streets and garages. The defendants have been charged in a 100 count indictment and face up to twenty five years in state prison if convicted on the top charge.
“Some people try to smuggle jewels out of the country. These individuals tried to sneak off with Caterpillars and Hummers. What they lacked in finesse they tried to compensate with audacity. But it made no difference. They met with the same end – arrest – thanks to the outstanding work of NYPD auto crime detectives and their partners in the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force,” said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, the defendants were caught through the assistance of wiretaps and surveillance. It is alleged that their activities were so brazen as to drive a Caterpillar excavator right off of a construction site and down the thruway. Once this and other vehicles were stolen, their VIN numbers were forged and “washed.”
As a former prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office I am keenly aware how much time and effort prosecutors and the police put into long term investigations such as this. As a criminal defense attorney I am equally familiar with the time and effort it will take to zealously advocate and fight to maintain these defendants’ liberty and rights. Both sides have a long road ahead of them.