Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Mary Galligan, the Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”); and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of charges against 13 members and associates of a criminal organization known as the “Wolfpack” for narcotics and firearms offenses. Defendants FRANKIE FROKAJ, CORRY LOMBARDI, JOSEPH CAMAJ, DRITON HAXHIJAJ, JOSEPH MITCHELL, GEORGE CEKAJ, STEPHEN CRIVILLARO, ALBERTO SPAGNUOLO, and JASON VILLALONA were arrested earlier today and appeared in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott this afternoon. CHRISTOPHER NRECAJ and DAVID NRECAJ were already in custody from an August 10, 2012 arrest on a previous indictment in this case. MARIA MANGIARDI is in custody on state charges. The remaining defendant, DEDA FROKAJ is at large.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Gangs like the Wolfpack allegedly bring drugs and violence to the communities they inhabit, and they have no place in civil society. Thanks to today’s law enforcement action, their ranks are now depleted, but we will not stop until the Wolfpack is extinct.”
FBI Acting Director in Charge Mary Galligan said: “As the indictment alleges, this organization is aptly named. The members of the Wolfpack preyed on rival drug dealers, and did it with guns and violence. This type of alleged activity posed a threat to the safety of everyone in the Bronx neighborhoods the Wolfpack prowled, not just rival criminals. The FBI is committed to preventing predatory organizations like this one from becoming entrenched.”
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “It’s hard to imagine a greater menace to neighborhood safety than the triple threat posed by alleged traffickers of oxy, coke, and guns. But the detectives, agents, and prosecutors in this case posed a triple threat of their own as the Wolfpack defendants learned the hard way. Congratulations to the great team that made it possible.”
The following allegations are based on the superseding indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
From 2008 through August 2012, the 13 charged defendants were members and associates of the Wolfpack. During that time, the defendants conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams and more of cocaine, 100 kilograms and more of marijuana, and quantities of Oxycodone. In the course of their criminal activities, members of the Wolfpack and their associates shared weapons and used violence against their rivals. In addition, CHRISTOPHER NRECAJ, DAVID NRECAJ, and FRANKIE FROKAJ are charged with using and carrying firearms in connection with the conspiracy. CHRISTOPHER NRECAJ is also charged with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in connection with his possession of a Glock handgun in March 2012, and a Smith and Wesson handgun and Mosseberg shotgun in August 2012.
CHRISTOPHER NRECAJ, 40; DAVID NRECAJ, 27; FRANKIE FROKAJ, 28; DEDA FROKAJ, 29; LOMBARDI, 24; CAMAJ, 26; HAXHIJAJ 23; MANGIARDI, 28; MITCHELL, 24; CEKAJ, 51; CRIVILLARO, 24; SPAGNUOLO, 23; and VILLALONA, 21, are all residents of the Bronx.
CHRISTOPHER NRECAJ, DAVID NRECAJ, and FRANKIE FROKAJ all face a potential life sentence, and a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison. DEDA FROKAJ, LOMBARDI, CAMAJ, HAXHIJAJ, MANGIARDI, MITCHELL, CEKAJ, CRIVILLARO, SPAGNUOLO, and VILLALONA each face a maximum term of 40 years in prison, and a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison. Below is a chart outlining the charges against the defendants and the maximum terms of imprisonment they face for each offense.
This case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI-NYPD Balkan Organized Crime Task force, and stated that the investigation is ongoing.
The case is being prosecuted by the Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas McQuaid, Peter Skinner, and Rebecca Mermelstein are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.