Leader of Little Haiti-Based Crack Cocaine Trafficking and Identity Theft Tax Fraud Organization Sentenced to 22 Years’ Imprisonment
A leader of a Little Haiti based drug trafficking organization and identity theft tax fraud scheme was sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment by Senior United States District Judge Donald L. Graham.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Carlos Canino, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement.
Espere Desmond Pierre, 33, of Miami, previously pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over two hundred eighty (280) grams of crack cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846 and 841(b)(1)(A); possession with intent to distribute over 28 grams of crack cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B); possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A); conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349; and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).
The Court sentenced Pierre to be imprisoned for a total term of 264 months (22 years). The Court further ordered that Pierre serve a five year term of supervised release, following his release from custody, and that Pierre pay a special assessment of $500.
According to court documents, Pierre and co-defendant Markentz Blanc, 34, of Miami, conspired as supervisors and directors of a drug-trafficking organization that distributed cocaine base (commonly referred to as “crack” cocaine) through multiple storage and retail distribution locations in the Little Haiti area of Miami-Dade County. Pierre and Blanc also conspired to obtain the personal identifying information (PII), including the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, of various persons. Pierre and Blanc then used the unauthorized information to submit fraudulent tax returns in order to claim income tax refunds to which they were not entitled.
Earlier this year, Blanc and another co-defendant, Willis Maxi, 33, of Miami, were each convicted following a jury trial and sentenced to 300 and 312 months’ imprisonment, respectively. Five additional co-defendants—including Meluin Jermaine Braynen, 21, Wisvelt Voltaire, 33, Alex Bermudez, 26, Sanders Bermudez, 23, and Kervens Lalanne, 25, all of Miami, previously pled guilty and were sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from 18 to 188 months.
Through its Violence Reduction Partnership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its federal and local law enforcement allies have sought to dismantle the most violent criminal networks in various neighborhoods in the Southern District of Florida, while simultaneously working with community leaders and concerned citizens to mentor at-risk youth, provide job training, coordinate social services and support the reintegration of ex-offenders (returning citizens) to the community.
Mr. Ferrer thanked FBI, ATF, IRS-CI, the Miami-Dade Police Department, and the City of Miami Police Department for their work on this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth M. Schlessinger and Olivia S. Choe.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.