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Kidnapping Defendant Zhen Was Freed For $75000 Now Wants To Plead Guilty in 4 Weeks

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 28 – Dacheng Zhen, described as a "money laundering broker involved in the laundering of narcotics proceeds" retained counsel to try to get released from jail before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Freeman, in a telephone proceeding amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in May 2020.

    Inner City Press called in and when asked identified itself: "Inner City Press, not a participant."

Dacheng Zhen's retained counsel had filed a 20-page motion seeking release.   Judge Freeman asked Pre-Trial Services what they can do, generally, these days.

  The PTS Officer replied, We have substituted virtual visits for some home visits. But we still impose home incarceration. 

  Judge Freeman followed up, Is this defendant currently in quarantine?  

  Assistant US Attorney Sheb Swett said, I don't know.

    Judge Freeman: When could Pre-Trial fit him with a GPS bracelet? If he has a fever? Would Pre-Trial not fit him?

   The PTS officer answered, We don't do it right away. Pre COVID, we would require 48 hours to do a home visit and install equipment, before releasing someone.  

  Judge Freeman said, Thank you for all that. Now, let's hear the arguments. Why does the US think continued detention is appropriate? 

  The AUSA said, He was arrested in California. There was a contested proceeding there. Here, all of his three co-defendants have made COVID-related applications. This was an attempt to take 100s of 1000s of dollars with extreme violence.   

Jump cut to September 16, 2021 on co-defendant: "JUDGMENT IN A CRIMINAL CASE as to Walkin Francisco Arias Villar (4). THE DEFENDANT: pleaded guilty to count Count III. Any open Counts are dismissed on the motion of the United States. IMPRISONMENT: One Hundred Twenty (120) Months on Count III. The court makes the following recommendations to the Bureau of Prisons: That the Defendant be designated to FCI Danbury, in Danbury CT. SUPERVISED RELEASE: Three (3) Years. See SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF SUPERVISION. ASSESSMENT: $100.00 due immediately. RESTITUTION: $36,150.92 due immediately. Name of Payee: **UNDER SEAL**. Joint and Several: 20cr56 USA v. Zhen et al. All co-defendants, #s 1,2, and 3. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Crotty on 9/15/2021) (ap)

Next co-defendant Edward Hernandez was up for sentencing on December 2, and the US Attorney's Office was recommending 135 months. The defense said the guidelines overstate his role; they asked for less time. On February 14, 2022 they appealed.

As to Zhen, on April 28, 2022 the US Attorney's Office wrote to Judge Paul A. Crotty to set up a change of plea hearing in the next four weeks. We'll have more on this.

Back in May, 2020 Judge Freeman ruled:  Defense Counsel Barry S. Zone (Retained). BAIL DISPOSITION: $250,000 PRB; 8 FRP; Secured by $75,000 cash; Surrender travel documents (& no new applications); Pretrial supervision as directed by Pretrial Services; Home incarceration; Electronic monitoring; Defendant to pay all of part of cost of electronic monitoring, as determined by Pretrial Services; Defendant not to possess firearm/destructive device/other weapon; Defendant to be detained until all conditions are met. - Defendant to refrain from contact, direct or indirect, with codefendants, with individual identified by gov't as unindicted co-conspirator, and with victim. - Defendant to obtain a cell phone for the purpose of allowing PTS supervision, as directed by PTS, and not to use the phone for any other purposes, except for contact with counsel, the Court, parents and siblings, fiancee, medical providers, and emergency services. Defendant to permit random checks of his phone by PTS. Defendant not to use any other phone. - Defendant not be be released until 5/18/2020 at the earliest to allow for potential appeal." 

We aim to have more on this. The case is US v. Zhen et al., 20-cr-56 (Crotty / Freeman). 



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