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In SDNY Polanco Takes 87 Month Plea Deal For Selling Fentanyl to Undercover Asks What Else Can I Do?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 23 – With the courtroom was nearly full for a mere scheduling proceeding for Michael Avenatti on July 23, three stories beneath a man was pleading guilty and agreeing to 87 months in prison in an nearly empty courtroom. There were only Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald and her deputy, one Assistant US Attorney, defendant Polanco, his interpreter and his lawyer - and Inner City Press. The allocution was not as smooth as it might have been.

Asked to confirm that he was pleading guilty, Mr. Polanco said, "What else can I do?" This took some unwinding: you could go to trial.

He said in Spanish, Tengo que ir a juico, which means, I have to go to trial. But one could also translate it, I have to be brought to justice. He sold heroin and fentanyl to an undercover agent. And on November 5 at the same 2:30 pm he will be sentenced. Inner City Press will stay on this and other cases in the SDNY.

While many even most cases in the Magistrates Court of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York are sealed or have no case number given, on July 23 before Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron, things were a bit clearer.

Two defendants in the case case were presented, one after the other, and each bailed on $75,000 bond with two co-signers. The case number, unlike the recent USA v. Perlson plea before SDNY Judge Crotty, was available on PACER. The defendants, Aaron Paul Hudgins (with a Federal Defender) and Jalen Dominguez (with a CJA who was briefing what looked to be students in the gallery) allegedly ordered cell phones using other people's accounts and some counterfeit IDs, picking them up in Tennessee and Kentucky. Both have preliminary hearings set for August 22.

  Cordial Judge Aaron wrapped up the day's presentations before 6 pm, when another group of alleged conspirators, this time for GSE bond sales, came down from Judge Rakoff's. We'll have more on both cases.

On July 22 more typically, a defendant referred to only as "Ms. Grandison" (phonetic) was released on a $20,000 bond on charges of access devise fraud and aggravated identity theft. A request for more on this presentment, including case number and spelling of name, is pending.

Back on July 17 in a case that, hours after the defendants were ordered released on bail remained listed as "sealed," Munif Ahmed stands accused of conspiracy to distribute large quantities of drugs from China and with telling the now cooperating witness, "Don't f*ck with me."

The government argued that Ahmed is a risk to flee to Yemen; his Criminal Justice Act lawyer said no, blood clots in his legs prevent him from flying. Then there was the matter of where Mr. Ahmed lives - on Anderson Avenue in the Bronx with his uncle or in the store on West 168th Street which he lists on his ID. This was ascribed to not having an interpreter during the interview with pre trial services.

Ahmed was ordered released on a $250,000 bond with $30,000 in cash or property. His co-defendant who called "Mr Lazzaro" before turning himself in must put up $40,000 cash. He drive Uber; Inner City Press predicts he or Mr. Lazzaro or his associate will move to relax the conditions of release to extend beyond the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. Watch this site.  

On July 15 there was a more visceral mystery. Between two presentments and bond hearings no fewer than 10 NYC Emergency Medical Services paramedics rushed into the Mag Court cell block. Then emerged with a man on a gurney, followed by a US Marshal with shackles, on their way to "Downtown," the NY Downtown Hospital at 100 William Street. Better there than the MCC, someone said.



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