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Leader of Newburgh Latin Kings Pleads Guilty in White Plains Federal Court to Murder and Firearms Offenses

U.S. Attorney’s Office September 07, 2012
  • Southern District of New York (212) 637-2600

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Osman Nunez, a leader of the Latin Kings gang in Newburgh, New York (the Newburgh Latin Kings), pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains federal court to two firearms offenses related to drug trafficking and the March 2010 murder of an aspiring member of the Latin Kings, John Maldonado. Nunez is one of 35 members and associates of the gang charged with federal crimes, 30 of whom have now been convicted, and five of whom await a January 2013 trial on murder, racketeering, drug, firearms, witness tampering, and other charges.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated, “The murder of John Maldonado was only one in a series of senseless deaths, shootings, and other acts of violence tied to the rampant drug trade and turf wars in Newburgh, New York, that are fueled in large measure by gangs and their rivals. With today’s guilty plea of the Latin Kings’ anointed ‘warlord,’ we are one step closer to dismantling an organization that left a trail of blood and destruction in its wake. This is a victory for the residents of Newburgh, but we are not finished.”

According to the indictment to which Nunez pled guilty, statements made during the plea proceeding, other court documents, and evidence presented during related trials:

Since at least 2007, the Newburgh Latin Kings and their associates sold crack cocaine, heroin, powder cocaine, and marijuana at drug spots in Newburgh, New York. Gang members and associates protected their drug turf, drugs, and drug money with guns and violence. The violence included frequent shootings, stabbings, and assaults of rival drug dealers, including members of the Bloods—a rival gang—and members and associates of the Latin Kings who were perceived to have fallen out of line.

In March 2010, the violence escalated into four nights of shootings, and one of the victims was Maldonado, whom gang members believed had betrayed the Latin Kings. The murder was orchestrated by Nunez and several co-conspirators by walking Maldonado to the spot where a shooter Nunez had recruited lay in wait to gun Maldonado down. In an attempt to obstruct the investigation into the murder, Nunez, who was standing over Maldonado as he lay dying on the street, gave the responding police officers false information regarding the shooting.

Nunez, 24, of Newburgh, New York, pled guilty to one count of using, carrying, and possessing firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; and one count of using, carrying, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. He faces a mandatory term of 30 years in prison.

Mr. Bharara thanked the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force for their work on the Latin Kings investigation. The Task Force is led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and combines the resources of dozens of law enforcement officers from federal, state, and local agencies and departments, including: agents and officers of the FBI; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the City of Newburgh Police Department; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the Middletown Police Department; the Orange County Sheriff’s Office; and the New York State Police. Mr. Bharara also thanked the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas McQuaid, Benjamin Allee, Abigail Kurland, and Daniel Chung are in charge of the prosecution.

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