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Son Brought Into Drugs By Father Now Deported Gets 42 Months From Judge Oetken

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 30 – Jhonny Santana Cartagena was brought into a narcotics conspiracy by his father, got arrested and was deported from the United States.

 Then he came back and did it again.

 On July 30 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge J. Paul Oetken, before sentencing Santana-Cartagena on the re-entry and the new drug dealing charges asked if the father is in the Dominican Republic.  

  Santana-Cartagena's lawyers, from Lincoln Square Legal Services at Fordham University School of Law, said "his father is quite decisively out of the picture." Assistant US Attorney Frank J. Balsamello said his office understands that the father is back in the Dominican Republic.

 But a recurrent theme in the triple sentencing was the assurances that Santana-Cartagena had given SDNY Judge Paul A. Crotty back in 2012 when he got a lenient sentence. How to take the promises that this time is it over seriously now?

 Judge Oetken said since the 26 months imposed by Judge Crotty hadn't had a deterrent effect, this time is would be 42 months, with credit for nearly two years already served. His lawyers asked that it be close to New York, and that he does NOT seek any separation order from his co-defendant. The case is USA v. Santana-Cartagena, 12-cr-310 (JPO).

Ronny Ramirez Deluna worked a cocaine distribution business disguised as a livery cab service
in lower and Midtown Manhattan from April 2016 to August 2017. He pleaded guilty, arguably safety valve eligible, before SDNY Judge Ronnie Abrams on July 30.

 Judge Abrams, as a routine part of the plea allocution with Inner City Press the only media present, asked if Ramirez Deluna is a U.S. citizen. His lawyer B. Alan Seidler replied that he claims derivative citizenship and that it is being litigated. Seidler had written to Abrams back on June 17, putting off a June 19 status conference because "the parties are involved in plea discussions."

   Judge Abrams endorsed that, pushing back the conference to July 16, then apparently to July 30 when the discussions bore or at last publicly showed fruit. It had been some time coming: despite a May 2018 indictment, Ramirez Deluna was not apprehended and applied for bail before Judge Abrams on February 5, 2019.

  Then Judge Abrams asked, "Why did it take so long for Mr. Ramirez Deluna to be arrested?"

  Assistant US Attorney McGinness said that Ramirez Deluna had retained a defense lawyer at that time who made an appearance on the docket "but the DEA was not able to apprehend him. He did not surrender." Then the US Marshals took over and interviewed " family member or a relative or a social friend of his." Then he turned himself in.

  Before Judge Abrams on February 5, his then lawyer Mr. Velez offered as financially responsible people ready to sign Stephanie Delacruz who works at Montefiore Hospital. "She is his girlfriend. She makes $60,000," Mr. Velez said.

  AUSA McGinness replied that "he is not only a risk of flight, he has been in flight."

  Judge Abrams said, "I find this baffling. I haven't had a situation before where a defense attorney filed a notice of appearance and yet his client stayed where he was instead of fleeing, didn't surrender."  The Bronx is large.... None of this was covered at the time, nor now: it is part of the vast otherwise unreported part of the SDNY's docket.

  Judge Abrams denied bail, but put it on a fast track back in February. Now this guilty plea, with the specter of a safety value. The sentencing is set for November 15. Inner City Press, working on these stories while perched over a Pacer terminal for months, intends to be there. Watch this site. The case is USA v. Ramirez Deluna, 18-cr-351 (RA).

Wander Reyes came to the US from the Dominican Republic three years ago and tried to find work. What he found, and on July 30 was sentenced to 30 months in prison for, was a conspiracy to try to rob 15 kilos of heroin using, among other things, a fake police car.

  Before SDNY Judge Gregory H. Woods, Wander Reyes emphasized that he is young and this just sort of happened. Judge Woods, usually moved by defendant's statements, took issue with this one. These things do not just happened, he said, mention zip ties and fake guns.

  Assistant US Attorney Celia V. Woods added an arrest of Wander Reyes for the rape of a 12 year old. Judge Woods said there has been no conviction so he would not give that weight. Wander Reyes' defense lawyer Zachary Taylor argued among other things that since Reyes will in all probability be deported after he serves his time in US prison, he won't pose a danger "to Americans."

  Still, even while Judge Woods said he expects an ICE detainer to be filed against Wander Reyes, he imposed three years of supervised release. Will New York State proceeding on the rape of 12 year old charge while Wander Reyes is in Federal prison, or wait? Or just forget about it? Inner City Press will continue to follow these cases. This case is USA v. Wander Reyes, 19-cr-192 (GHW).



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