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In The Bronx Feliz Killed Victor Chafla From Ecuador Then in SDNY Got 32 Years in Otisville

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 16 – In sentencing a Kenyan drug lord to 25 years on the morning of August 16, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero said that later in the day he had on his docket a Bronx gang member facing 27 years for murder.

 Before 5 pm, Judge Marrero sentenced the man, Richard Feliz, to 32 years.

  While Feliz' guilty plea was to narcotics conspiracy and firearms, the government's sentencing submission recites that on March 25, 2015 Feliz was pursuing an opposing gang member. When this "opp" exited the 50 50 Deli at 1278 Morrison Avenue in The Bronx, "Feliz pointed the .40 gun down a crowded street and fired multiple times. His bullets missed... Instead, one of Feliz' bullets hit an innocent bystander, Victor Chafla, in the head."

   On August 16, one of Chafla's daughter gave a victim's impact statement in court. She spoke of her six other siblings, how their father came to the US from Ecuador to work to support them, how their father came to the US from Ecuador to support them, their pain, and that they wanted justice.

There were two Court Security Officers standing around Feliz' friends and family. Inner City Press was the only media present.

  Judge Marrero cited US v. Booker for the proposition that he did not have to stick with the guidelines, but he did: 240 months on Count 1, 84 months consecutive on Count 2, for  total of 32 years in prison. Feliz requested Otisville; Judge Marrero said he would recommend it and said good day.

  Kenya drug trafficker Baktash Akasha Abdalla faced a life sentence including for the use of machine guns, but got 25 years in jail on August 16 from U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero.

Judge Marrero emphasized that the US Drug Enforcement Agency had played an entrapping or suggesting role. He likened it to attempted murder, and contrasted it to a Bronx gang leader to be sentenced later in the day who really killed someone, but faces a guideline sentence of 27 years. Citing the need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities he imposed 25 years and a fine of $100,000. More on Patreon, here.

  Back on July 26, murder in Amsterdam and the possibility of execution in India all came up in an ill-attended Fatico hearing before Judge Marrero, including questions about the credibility of government witness Mr. Vicky Goswami, whom the government describes as "the Akashas' trusted co-conspirator [who] after he was released from a long prison sentence in Dubai moved to Kenya and worked in partnership with Baktash, Ibrahmi and others on their drugs and violence."

  Baktash's lawyer George Robert Goltzer on July 26 mocked the government's reliance on Goswami, pointing at inconsistencies in the 3500 material turned over.

 But Judge Marrero, after praising Golzer and Ibrahim Akasha Abdalla's lawyer Dawn Cardi for their professional presentation, took the government's side. He said that multi-day proffers like Goswami's can result in seeming inconsistencies. But he found no inconsistency on the issues before him: the murder of "Pinky" and Ibrahim's use of a firearm. The case is USA v. Abdalla, et al., 14-cr-00716 (Marrero).

  Notwithstanding Judge Marrero's quotation from Robert Frost's poem "The Hangman," or with that perhaps as a harbinger, Baktash now faces sentencing on August 16 in the morning (Golzer asked that it not be in the afternoon so that Baktash won't have to spend all day in a holding cell). He faces a life sentence. Ibrahim is to be sentence much later, on November 8. Inner City Press will continue to cover these cases.


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