LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that a federal jury
found JOEL SPIGELMAN, a/k/a “Joe,” a/k/a “Judas,” guilty late
yesterday of ordering the murder of a female drug courier in
The jury convicted SPIGELMAN of one count of
intentional murder, one count of felony murder in aid of
racketeering, one count of murder committed with a firearm, and
one count of narcotics trafficking. United States District Judge
SHIRA A. SCHEINDLIN presided over the nine-day trial. SPIGELMAN
faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. According to the
evidence at trial:
SPIGELMAN operated a jewelry business on 47 Street in th
the Diamond District in Manhattan for many years. From that
office, SPIGELMAN sold millions of dollars of stolen jewelry and
kilogram quantities of cocaine. SPIGELMAN obtained some of the
stolen jewelry and cocaine from South American robbery crews who
committed violent armed robberies and sold the proceeds of those
robberies to SPIGELMAN.
SPIGELMAN also gave tips to violent armed robbery crews
on targets to be robbed, providing the names and addresses of his
own jewelry and drug customers in return for a share of whatever
was stolen, often including the jewelry that he had sold to those
customers. Examples of this included robberies of jewelry
customers in both New Jersey and Connecticut; on one occasion, a
family was tied up and tortured.
In March 1999, SPIGELMAN provided a tip to a Colombian
robbery crew that he was going to be receiving 50 to 60 kilograms
of cocaine at his apartment in Queens from a female Colombian
courier, who was supposed to have another 150 kilograms for other
customers in the trunk of her car. SPIGELMAN gave this tip to
the robbers on the explicit condition that if they committed the
robbery of the 150 kilos, they would have to kill the courier so
that the robbery could not be traced back to him.
On March 17, 1999, the robbery was committed as planned
and, on SPIGELMAN’s order, ALEX RESTREPO executed the woman with
a single gunshot to the back of the head. The woman’s body was
dumped in Forest Park in Queens. She has never been identified.
RESTREPO was previously prosecuted by this Office and convicted
of the killing of former New York City Police Officer DONALD
PAGANI, among other crimes, after a jury trial before Judge
SCHEINDLIN in 2002, and is currently serving a life sentence.
Mr. GARCIA praised the efforts of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation in connection with the investigation, arrest and
prosecution of SPIGELMAN.
Assistant United States Attorneys HELEN V. CANTWELL and
MARISSA MOLÉ are in charge of the prosecution.