MAR 03 (NEW YORK) – Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Manuel Geovanny Rodriguez-Perez, a/k/a “Shorty,” was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain to spend the remainder of his life in prison for his role as a leader of a massive and violent racketeering organization ( “Rodriguez Enterprise”) whose members sold large quantities of marijuana, murdered and attempted to murder nearly 20 people, transported and laundered millions of dollars, obstructed justice and committed perjury, and engaged in firearms offenses.
Rodriguez-Perez was previously charged in connection with “Operation Green Venom,” a coordinated multi-agency investigation that was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“ICE HSI”), and first announced in October 2010.
On June 7, 2016, Rodriguez-Perez pled guilty before Judge Swain to one count of racketeering conspiracy, and accepted responsibility for dozens of illegal acts associated with that conspiracy, including nine murders and 10 attempted murders in the United States and the Dominican Republic.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said “By his own admission, Manuel Geovanny Rodriguez-Perez is a cold-blooded murderer who was responsible for the executions of nine people and attempts on the lives of 10 more. He ruled over his drug enterprise with an iron fist and ruthlessly protected his turf. Today Rodriguez-Perez received a sentence that will ensure he poses no further danger to the people of New York – life behind bars.”
According to the allegations contained in the criminal indictment and information, other documents in the public record, and statements made in court: Rodriguez-Perez was the highest ranking leader of a narcotics organization involved in a wide range of criminal activity, including the murders of the following victims:
Francisco Perez, a/k/a “Francie,” on October 26, 1997: Perez was murdered at Rodriguez-Perez’s direction and under his watch after Rodriguez-Perez decided that Perez was a rival with whom Rodriguez-Perez no longer wished to compete. Perez was shot and killed outside a nightclub in upper Manhattan. Rodriguez watched this murder from the safety of a nearby pool hall and later informed a cooperating witness that he had “given himself” this murder as a “birthday present.”
Antonio Kasse, a/k/a “Toasty,” on December 13, 1998: Rodriguez-Perez murdered Kasse because Rodriguez-Perez suspected Kasse in the theft of a relatively small amount of marijuana from one of Rodriguez-Perez’s stash houses. In the shooting that resulted in Kasse’s death, the hitmen hired by Rodriguez-Perez also struck an innocent bystander, permanently paralyzing that victim.
Fnu Lnu, a/k/a “Carlos Valentin,” a/k/a “Campi,” in or about 2000: Campi – whose true identity remains unknown – was strangled to death by Rodriguez-Perez and his underlings in a public park in the Bronx. Campi was a low-level employee of Rodriguez-Perez’s drug business whom Rodriguez-Perez suspected of having stolen a small amount of marijuana. Rodriguez-Perez buried Campi in a pre-dug grave, and later returned in an unsuccessful effort to locate, exhume, and destroy his victim’s remains.
Noel Herrera, on December 29, 2001: Herrera was a rival drug dealer murdered by Rodriguez-Perez in order to increase the Rodriguez Organization’s profits. He was murdered in the Dominican Republic at Rodriguez-Perez’s direction by a team of paid assassins.
Kelly Perez, a/k/a “Red” on September 16, 2002: Rodriguez-Perez ordered the murder of this low-level employee of his business because he believed Perez to have stolen a small amount of marijuana and money, with which he had purchased a particular firearm. Before attempting multiple times to murder Perez, Rodriguez-Perez forced Perez to return that firearm and, in spite, ensured that Perez died from a shot fired by the same weapon.
Marino Molina, on January 11, 2003, and Wilfredo Molina, a/k/a “Willie,” on May 3, 2004: The Molina brothers were rivals of the Rodriguez Organization and associates of Rodriguez-Perez’s first victim, Francisco Perez. Marino was murdered by a team of hitmen in the Dominican Republic while attending a baseball game, and Wilfredo was murdered in the drive-way of his family home in the presence of his young son.
Manuel Rivas, a/k/a “Tony el Mono,” on October 29, 2005: Rivas was a former employee of the Rodriguez Organization whom Rodriguez-Perez believed to be cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation of his drug empire. Rivas was murdered in the Dominican Republic by hitmen hired by Rodriguez-Perez.
Richard Cabrera, a/k/a “Bori,” on January 16, 2006: The murder of Richard Cabrera demonstrates Rodriguez-Perez’s ruthlessness in support of his narcotics business. Cabrera had been a hitman for Rodriguez-Perez in the murder of Francisco Perez, described above, and Rodriguez-Perez murdered Cabrera in order to safeguard against the possibility of Cabrera revealing Rodriguez-Perez’s role in that earlier murder.
Noel Herrera, Marino Molina, and Manuel Rivas were each murdered by or at the command of Rodriguez-Perez in the Dominican Republic. Wilfredo Molina was murdered at the command of Rodriguez-Perez in New Jersey, and the remaining victims were murdered in New York City.
Additionally, Rodriguez-Perez was ordered to pay $25 million as a forfeiture penalty, which is the approximate amount of gross proceeds received by Rodriguez-Perez derived from racketeering activities, properties in New York, Florida, and the Dominican Republic, and cash and jewelry seized by law enforcement officers.
Rodriguez-Perez, age 43, has been in federal custody since October 15, 2010, when he was arrested during a takedown of more than 50 members of a massive marijuana trafficking ring that transported ton-quantities of marijuana from Florida and California for distribution in the greater New York area from the early 1990’s to 2010.
In sentencing Rodriguez-Perez, Judge Swain said a life sentence was warranted because of the “breadth and violence” of his criminal conduct, which showed an “immense willingness and capacity to exact vengeance and violence.” Judge Swain described the “collateral damage caused” by Rodriguez-Perez’s crimes as “catastrophic and immeasurable.”
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force comprising agents and officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York City Police Department, and New York State Police and the investigative work of ICE and HSI. He also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bergen County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office, the Englewood, New Jersey Police Department, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the New York City Department of Investigation for their assistance.
The investigation and the prosecution of the cases arising from “Operation Green Venom” has been overseen by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew C. Adams is responsible for the prosecution.
This investigation is continuing.