U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York
(716) 843-5700
September 11, 2015

7th Street Gang Member Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy; Admits Role in Murder of Rival Gang Member

BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Esteban Ramos-Cruz, 27, of Buffalo, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy (RICO) before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi, who is handling the case, stated that between 2000 and 2012, Cruz was a member of the Cheko’s Crew/7th Street Gang which was responsible for drug trafficking and violent crime on Buffalo’s West Side. During this time, as a part of the rivalry with the 10th Street Gang, the defendant participated with others in the murder of 10th Street Gang associate Eric Morrow on August 11, 2009. Cruz and co-defendant Jordan Hidalgo both shot at Morrow with Morrow being killed by the .22 caliber rifle discharged by Cruz. The defendant also sold illegal narcotics on Buffalo’s West Side.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the FBI, New York State Police, under the direction of Major Michael Cerretto, the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid, New York Field Division.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 13, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.

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