Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg

Bronx Brothers Convicted On Federal Murder And Narcotics Charges
United States Attorney
Southern District of New York


MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that PEDRO GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Pete,” and his brother DAVID GONZALEZ were found guilty yesterday of narcotics trafficking and murder, following a three week jury trial before United States District Judge LORETTA A. PRESKA and a jury in Manhattan federal court. PEDRO GONZALEZ, 39, and DAVID GONZALEZ, 33,
were each convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana, and PEDRO GONZALEZ was also convicted of distributing heroin.

Additionally, DAVID GONZALEZ was convicted of participating in the murder of EUGENE SOTO, who was shot to death on September 14, 1996, on Valentine Avenue in the Bronx, in connection with PEDRO GONZALEZ’s drug business. Each count of conviction carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The defendants, whose drug profits were invested in real estate and other assets, also face asset forfeiture penalties.

According to the evidence at trial: PEDRO GONZALEZ at first operated a street-level narcotics organization
which sold crack cocaine and marijuana at East 196th Street and Creston Avenue in the Bronx, New York. During the course of the conspiracy, from 1991 through 2003, PEDRO GONZALEZ built up the drug business
to the point where he and co-conspirators were selling kilogram-quantities of heroin and cocaine throughout the New York City area. Additionally, PEDRO GONZALEZ possessed several weapons, including semiautomatic
guns, silencers, and a hand grenade.

On September 14, 1996, following an altercation the previous day with PEDRO GONZALEZ, SOTO encountered DAVID GONZALEZ on a Bronx street, whereupon DAVID GONZALEZ returned to a stash apartment for the brothers’ drug organization and retrieved a firearm. DAVID GONZALEZ then led a chase of SOTO through the streets. SOTO was trapped in the vestibule of a building on Valentine Avenue, then stabbed repeatedly in the head and neck by an associate of the GONZALEZES (“CC-1”). SOTO was then shot in the head and killed, using DAVID GONZALEZ’s gun, by another GONZALEZ associate (“CC-2”). There were no eyewitnesses able to identify the killers, and the murder went unprosecuted until six years later. CC-1 and CC-2 both pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court for their roles in the murder, and agreed to cooperate with the Government. DAVID GONZALEZ was then charged.

Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the United States Internal Revenue Service.

Assistant United States Attorneys HARRY A. CHERNOFF and STEVE C. LEE are in charge of the prosecution.

Analysis:

The case of brothers Pedro and David Gonzalez, of the Bronx is appropriate and worthy of review in a newspaper whose focus is essentially Westchester County because the nature and the magnitude of their criminal
enterprises over many years in an adjacent county was such as to certainly impact innumerable individuals and families in Westchester.

Starting out with a street-level operation, the brothers’ enterprise quickly grew as demand from their surroundings, including Westchester, funneled enormous amounts of cash to them from “sophisticated” recreational users, and not-so-fashionable, addicted consumers.

Like any knowledgeable business operators, the brothers invested their ill-gotten profits in real estate and other hard assets. And, like other growing businesses, they did their best to eliminate competition, and interference;
in at least one known instance, violently. The details shared by the United States Attorney’s Office regarding the investigation, prosecution, and conviction, of not only David Gonzalez, but also two cooperating convicted accomplices, in the ultra-violent murder of Eugene Soto in the Fordham section of the Bronx some eleven years ago, is most revealing.

It is important for those who support such criminal entrepreneurs as the Gonzalez brothers with street corner purchases of cocaine, crack, and heroin, in places like Washington Heights, Fordham Road, Spanish Harlem, and places too numerous to mention, in their misguided efforts to liven up their weekend party-going, to realize what savagery, destruction, and grief they are financing. It is equally important that such ‘slick consumers’ recognize the medical and legal risks they are exposing themselves, and their loved ones, to.

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