R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Miami Field Office, Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, State Attorney, Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, John F. Timoney, Chief, City of Miami Police Department, Robert Parker, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, and Richard Naue, Chief, Coral Gables Police Department, announced the March 26, 2009 Indictment of eight individuals involved in the distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine, as well as the use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Charged in the Indictment, unsealed today, are Junior Sylvin, Emmanuel Othello, Niko Thompson, Ziv Bythol, Tarvus Daniels, Frantz Sterlin, Chris Victor, and Eric Taylor. Also charged today in a separate Criminal Complaint is defendant Gordon Louis. Louis was charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Defendants Sylvin, Thompson, Bythol, Victor, Taylor, and Louis made their initial appearances in federal court today. A pre-trial detention hearing for defendants Taylor and Louis has been scheduled for April 10, 2009, and for defendants Sylvin, Thompson, Bythol, and Victor, on April 13, 2009. Defendants Othello and Daniels remain at large. Defendant Sterlin is in state custody, and will be transferred to federal custody on these charges.
The investigation revealed that Sylvin was the head of a drug trafficking organization that operated in Miami-Dade. Defendant Othello was Sylvin’s right hand man and defendants Sterlin, Victor, and Taylor were employees of the organization. Defendant Thompson was a source of supply, and defendants Bythol and Daniels were independent distributors who received their supply of cocaine and crack cocaine from Sylvin. Sylvin maintained multiple stash houses in the Little Haiti area where the drugs were stored, processed, and sold. During the course of the investigation, a firearm, approximately 21 ounces of cocaine, and approximately $37,000 was recovered.
On April 6, 2009, search warrants were simultaneously executed at six residences. Among the items found and seized were of eleven semi-automatic handguns, including an FN Herstal capable of firing bulletproof vest piercing ammunition, two AK-47 style assault rifles, one 12-gauge shotgun, approximately one kilogram of cocaine, numerous drug paraphernalia, and a large amount of U.S. currency. Also seized was a Porsche Cayenne, an Infiniti FX 35, a Chevy Avalanche, a Chevy Monte Carlo, and a Buick Lucerne.
U.S. Attorney Acosta stated, “Drug and drug related gun violence poisons our community and often leads to the deaths of innocent bystanders. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, together with our federal and local law enforcement partners, are committed to eradicating the scourge of drugs and the violence and death that results from drug trafficking.”
“With these arrests, the streets of Miami are safer today. DEA is committed to ridding communities of drugs and the violence that accompanies this death trade,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. “The success of this investigation was the result of hard work by federal and local law enforcement officers who have pledged to make our communities safer.”
“Plain and simple, guns and gun violence cannot be allowed to become the order of the day,” said Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Miami Field Division. “This drug trafficking organization ran its business through violence and armed drug dealing. Today, law enforcement has struck a blow and helped to put an end to their violent criminal lifestyle.”
This prosecution is the result of the collaborative efforts of DEA, ATF, City of Miami Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, and the Coral Gables Police Department, and included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on telephones. Mr. Acosta commended the collaborative efforts of the DEA, ATF, State Attorney’s Office, City of Miami Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, and Coral Gables Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Russell Koonin.
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 United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.