Member of 10th Street Gang Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 18, 2013|
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Hector Rodriguez, 24, of Buffalo, New York, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant was a member of the 10th Street gang and admitted to drug dealing and firearms possession as a part of his participation in the gang. As a part of his activities on behalf of the 10th Street gang, on May 22, 2006, Rodriguez learned that rival drug dealers were making what he believed to be a substantial amount of money selling crack cocaine in the turf controlled by the 10th Street gang. As a result, the defendant dressed in old and dirty clothes, pretended to be a crack cocaine user, and purchased crack cocaine from the rival drug dealers who were selling in the 10th Street gang’s turf. Following the purchase, Rodriguez returned to a 10th Street gang drug house, where he told fellow gang members that he did not see any guns in the possession of the rival drug dealers located inside the house. Armed 10th Street gang members then went to the location and shot the rival drug dealers using an AK-47 in order to force the rival drug dealers out of the neighborhood.
The defendant was indicted along with 34 other 10th Street gang members or associates. He is the 18th defendant to be convicted.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of investigators of the New York State Police under the direction of Major Christopher Cummings; the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commission Daniel Derenda; and special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 9, 2013, at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.