Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest of New York City Police Officer for Kidnapping Conspiracy and Illegally Accessing Federal Law Enforcement Database
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 25, 2012|
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Mary E. Galligan, the Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (NYPD), announced the arrest of active-duty New York City Police Officer Gilberto Valle for conspiracy to kidnap and for illegally accessing the federal National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. Valle allegedly conspired with more than one individual to kidnap, rape, torture, kill, cook, and cannibalize a number of women, and he used the NCIC database to obtain information about a specific woman. He was arrested by special agents of the FBI and detectives from the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau yesterday at his residence in Forest Hills, Queens, and will be presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman in Manhattan federal court.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Gilberto Valle’s alleged plans to kidnap women so that they could be raped, tortured, killed, cooked, and cannibalized shock the conscience. This case is all the more disturbing when you consider Valle’s position as a New York City Police officer and his sworn duty to serve and protect. Our investigation is ongoing.”
FBI Acting Assistant Director in Charge Mary E. Galligan said, “The allegations in the complaint really need no description from us. They speak for themselves. It would be an understatement merely to say Valle’s own words and actions were shocking.”
According to the allegations in the complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court:
In September 2012, the FBI learned that Valle was sending e-mail and instant messages discussing plans with multiple co-conspirators to kidnap, rape, torture, kill, cook, and cannibalize a number of women. A court-authorized search of the computer revealed that Valle had created files pertaining to at least 100 women and containing at least one photograph of each woman (the “individual files”). The computer also contained personal information about some of these women—including relevant addresses, physical descriptions, and photographs—and electronic communications in which Valle and co-conspirators detailed their plans. Additionally, Valle used the NCIC database and other methods to locate potential victims, surveilled potential victims at their homes and places of business, drafted an “operation plan” to abduct and “cook” an identified woman, researched methods of disabling and drugging women, and agreed with at least one other individual to kidnap a woman in exchange for a sum of money.
In July 2012, Valle had a series of online communications with a co-conspirator (CC- 1) in which they discussed how best to kidnap, murder, cook, and eat Victim-1, including where to find a recipe for chloroform. During this time period, Valle also created a document entitled “Abducting and Cooking [Victim-1]: a Blueprint.” The document contains pedigree information about Victim-1—including her name, date of birth, height, weight, and bra size. The document also contains a section called “Materials Needed” in which Valle wrote, in part, the following:
Car (I have it)
Chloroform (refer to website for directions)
Rope (Strongest kind to tie her up)
In subsequent instant message conversations, CC-1 asked Valle, “How was your meal?” to which Valle immediately responded, “I am meeting her [Victim-1] on Sunday.” On the following Sunday, Valle contacted Victim-1 and said that he wanted to meet her. They met later that day at a restaurant for lunch.
Valle also had conversations with another co-conspirator (CC-2) in February 2012, in which they negotiated and agreed to a price at which Valle would kidnap another woman (Victim-2). In those conversations, Valle insisted upon a price no less than $5,000 and assured CC-2 that Victim-2 would be bound, gagged, and alive when he delivered her. The FBI reviewed cell site data obtained pursuant to a court order and learned that, in March 2012, a cellphone with a telephone number belonging to Valle made and received cellular communications on the block in Manhattan on which Victim-2’s apartment building is located. When the FBI later interviewed Victim-2, she stated that she has never invited Valle to her home and does not know him well.
The NCIC Database
On May 31, 2012, Valle accessed the NCIC database and obtained information about a woman whose name matched the name of one of the individual files created by Valle (Victim-3), and stored the information on the computer. Valle did not have authorization to perform that search or to access any information about Victim-3.
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Valle, 28, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Valle is also charged with one count of intentionally and knowingly accessing a computer without authorization and exceeding his authorized access and thereby obtaining information from a department and agency of the United States, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD. He added that the investigation is continuing.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Hadassa Waxman is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.