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Among 16 Bronxites Indicted in Valentine Ave Drug Case Marcus Is Denied Bail But Appeals

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 20–  Angel Villafane, previously convicted of a felony, was arrested for having a gun in incidents starting at 97th Street and Second Avenue then 110th Street and the FDR (long barrel firearm)  

  On May 20, 2022 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York  Judge Victor Marrero held a conference. Inner City Press covered it, the only media there.

Jump cut to March 6, 2024 - now it was grown to a 16 defendant indictment: "As alleged, day in and day out, this crew distributed fentanyl, heroin, and crack along several blocks on Valentine Avenue."

Inner City Press went to arraignments including that of Christopher Meadows, who the prosecutor described as an enforcer for the lead named defendant (who was detained on consent).

  Based on medical conditions named in court but which Inner City Press will voluntarily not report, he was ordered bailed on $50,000 bond to his mother's residence in Soundview by Magistrate Judge Valerie Figueredo. On the day of appeal, the US agreed to release.

On March 15, another co-defendant had a bail hearing before Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron. Inner City Press was there, here

OK - now at bail hearing in Bronx Valentine Ave 16 case - 10 supporters of detained defendant here. Defense: My client could move out of The Bronx, to his mother's on Staten Island, or to a suretor's in Orange County. He's charged with aiding & abetting the use or brandishing of a firearm in connection with narcotics sales

AUSA: We are appealing one order to release: we agreed to release Meadows ["The Enforcer," Inner City Press live tweeted that too]. Defense: My client manages a musician, sells clothing at clubs. He used to be a porter at Tracy Towers [in The Bronx]

AUSA: He possessed a loaded weapon, and sold fentanyl. He faces 360 months to life in prison. Four cooperating witnesses will testify against him, one of them a rival. Another will testify to selling him a gun.

 AUSA: He was arrested with a gun and hollow point bullets, in a bedroom shared with a two year old autistic child. He is a clear and present danger to the community

 Judge: I'm focusing on danger to the community. A gun was found at your residence. I'm ordering detention.

On March 20, co-defendant Damel Marcus asked for release on bail, in Magistrates Court. Inner City Press was there, thread

Defense: My client was detained on consent 2 weeks ago. Now we are applying for bail. We proposed home detention in the home where he was arrested - on Third Avenue, some 25 blocks away. His girlfriend works at NYU Langone and makes $80,000. His ex makes $30,000

 Defense: Another suretor would be his aunt, working for the US Post Office, makes $55,000. His uncle is here, in the wheelchair in the back. My client is 48 years old, his only conviction was at 18. Judge: How many years did he serve in prison? Defense: 17 years

 Defense: The only defendant detained in this case is one charged with having a gun in his home. Others after appeal to Judges Furman and Stein are out on bond.  Judge: The other Judge Stein? The superior judge Stein? AUSA: Of the 16, 14 are in custody. 2 are out

Judge: What about Mr. Vargas? AUSA: We continue to litigate his release. Judge: Someone ordered him released? AUSA: Yes, by Magistrate Judge Cave. That was affirmed by, as you said, the other Judge Stein. But we continue litigation before him

 AUSA: I'd like to think with the court about the charges in the S-7 indictment.  Judge: How would you distinguish the two released from this defendant? AUSA: This crew was hierarchical. Its two leaders, sometimes in conflict, both face mandatory life

AUSA: The guideline range here is 360 months to life. His criminal history is serious. He had a youthful offender conviction, which operates for all intents and purposes as a conviction here in the Federal system. It was the theft of a car

AUSA: The defendant did bench warrant in that first case. Then he was convicted for shooting someone on the street, and killing them. When he was finally released, there was another arrested for reckless endangerment. Parole was revoked.

AUSA: It's a limited number of people who have killed someone else on the street. This defendant is one of them. He met the leader of the crew, who brought him in from Brooklyn as a manager. Six cooperating witnesses will testify to the structure

 AUSA: He went on a cruise to the Bahamas. But he has no other identifiable lawful employment or means. Pre Trial Services does not know the underlying facts. There will be multiple witnesses to this defendant using firearms on this block. He asserted primacy

AUSA: There was a shootout, multiple rounds. Three witnesses will testify as eye-witnesses.  In another incident, a member of the crew perceived to be taking profits was ambushed and beaten with chains that had been heated on a space heater.

AUSA: People have died from fentanyl in their stash houses. The enforcer, yes he was bailed - with the consent of the government. And the woman who was bailed, she was not a manager - in fact, she disassociated herself from the crew in July of last year

 AUSA: We ask you to detain him. Defense: I have quite a few points to respond to. 3142(g) requires you to consider the weight of the evidence [Uncle in wheelchair nods in assent]

Defense: For the 1st time we hear these allegations, not taken to the grand jury

Defense: The youthful offender, yes the 2d Circuit says it can be considered here - but these days it would have been a juvenile delinquency case...  Judge: But then manslaughter. Defense: He was 17 then. I haven't been able to get the files from the Bklyn court

 AUSA: We spoke to the DA's office - and we got the records, predating the regularization of reports. More broadly speaking- Judge: Before that - you said he was the shooter. Why? AUSA: We spoke with the DA's Office. There was a trial in that case.

 Defense: So they don't have the DA records? Judge: He did 17 years in prison. Defense: An ill-advised teenager got 17 years. Then motorcycle without a license, a decade ago. In this indictment, there's i (possession) ii (brandishing) and iii (discharge of a gun

 Defense: All we have here is ipsi dixit -- AUSA: Counsel did not ask for a proffer. I would have been happy to give one.  Defense: That is incorrect. We spoke on the day of the arrest, I do not go into my conversations with the government under Rule 410

 Defense: Pre Trial has a score system - and the charges are factored in. This is a 49 year old who lives with an employee of NYU Langone - and he works off the books at a tire place. That's how they traveled to the Caribbean. He would be 25 blocks away

 Judge: Thank you for your vigorous argument. I am prepared to rule. There are no conditions I can impose that will assure the safety of the community. [Detention will continue]

But late in the day, notice that the defense has appealed to Part I. Watch this site.

The case is US v. Villafane, et al., 21-cr-93 (Marrero)  


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