Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube

More: InnerCityPro
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Bronx Drug Case Expanded To Cover A Murder Now US Wants 168 Months for Ortega

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 28 –  A multi-defendant case charging narcotics conspiracy and guns, with phone data dumps and complaints from Valhalla and Essex County jails landed in Federal court. 

On February 5, 2021 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Katherine Polk Failla held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.  

Assistant US Attorney Frank Balsamello described the range of discovery, and a parallel state case.

Defendants cut in, complaining of bad treatment. Judge Failla supported the idea of a discovery coordinator. 

  Jump cut to June 2022 when defendant Drilon Haxhaj, according to his lawyer, has been engaged in extensive plea negotiations - and therefore asks that his May 2022 suppression motion be held in abeyance. He pled guilty on June 27.

On July 21, 2022 Judge Failla held a proceeding with remaining defendants and Inner City Press went and attended, live tweeting here:

On March 29, counsel for Shpendi Haxhaj filed a reply memo to sever his case, citing the risks of a joint trial. Dkt 161. In a garbled footnote, "the defense does not concede that the alleged statements made by the court-defendant are true or that they were in fact made at all. The defense argues that if the declaration co-defenses t's statements were omitted as evidence that regardless of their truth they would prejudice the defendant."

On July 24, 2023, counsel for Shpendi Haxhaj filed another letter with Judge Failla, that "we informed Mr. Haxhaj that if he is convicted at trial of murder in aid of racketeering, he would face a mandatory life sentence... Mr. Haxhaj has informed Counsel that he has elected to proceed to trial."

On August 9, co-defendant Ivis Perdomo's lawyer filed a supplemental sentencing memo complete with DD5s and photos of a club shooting, objecting to the US seeking at least 240 months.

On August 17 Jeremy Cedeno was sentenced, at the top of his guideline. Inner City Press was there, thread.

On September 12, co-defendant Boris Beltran was on trial on Courtroom 110 of 40 Foley Square. The gallery behind him was nearly full; the right side, empty. A 49th Precinct sergeant was on the witness stand, identifying the drugs seized that night. But on cross she was asked if she knew if Beltran lived in the raided apartment. She did not.

On September 13, the cooperator on the witness stand was cross-examined about, among other things, getting back into drug dealing the day after he was released from prison, then cutting the cooperation deal. On January 5, 2021 he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute 5 kilos or more of cocaine, with a ten year minimum, maximum life.

  But on cross he acknowledged he never planned for five kilos -- "if I'd managed to stay out I might have gotten there," he said. Then why, with only three years left on his state sentence, did he agree to this plea to ten to life?

It also emerged he couldn't say it was Beltran who put drugs in the jacket passed under the table of a restaurant on Fordham Road in The Bronx, or into the trunk of his car outside.

On September 14, with defendant Yeltsin Beltran greeting those in the gallery behind him, the prosecutor put an NYPD detective on the stand, to describe the victim Ramon Encarnacion bloody in Lincoln Hospital, and the afterhours location on 149th Street by Courtlandt Avenue.

On November 28, for co-defendant Fransisco Ortega, the US asked for a sentencing within the 168 to 210 month guildelines.

The case is US v. Haxhaj et al., 21-cr-17 (Failla)


Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.


Feedback: Editorial [at]
SDNY Press Room 480, front cubicle
500 Pearl Street, NY NY 10007 USA

Mail: Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station NY NY 10017

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2021 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]