Crime Report 9/20/19

BRONX MAN SENTENCED IN PALISADES PARKWAY GUN, AMMO STOP 

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe this week announced that 37-year-old Alfonso Cortez East 138th Street, Bronx has been sentenced to  nine and a half years in state prison with two and a half years post-release supervision for illegal weapon possession charges.

Cortez was convicted on May 18. 

On September 19, 2017, at approximately 7:26 a.m., a New York State Trooper observed Cortez violating various New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law violations, including speeding, on the northbound Palisades Interstate Parkway in Orangetown. Following a traffic stop and search of the defendant’s vehicle, the trooper recovered a locked, metal gun safe containing a loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm semi-automatic pistol. 

According to the charges, the gun held 15 rounds in the clip and one round in the chamber. Also recovered from Cortez’ truck was a gun cleaning kit and two, loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm  One magazine contained 15 (9mm) rounds and the second magazine contained 16 (9mm) rounds – both considered large-capacity ammunition feeding devices. 

The gun was later test-fired by investigators. 

District Attorney Zugibe said, “The defendant possessed a loaded deadly weapon, including a small stockpile of ammunition, posing a potential threat to public safety. Under the circumstances, these state prison sentences are more than warranted.” 

Supervising Assistant District Attorney Nabeela McLeod prosecuted the case.

GUILTY PLEA IN STRING OF VIOLENT ROCKLAND COUNTY TAXI CAB ASSAULTS, ROBBERIES Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe this week announced that 23-year-old Demond Vaughan of Main Street, Spring Valley pled guilty to one count of robbery in the first degree and one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree – both felonies – relating to a string of violent knifepoint attacks and robberies of local taxi cab drivers. 

“The defendant has admitted to committing a series of serious felonies – including knifepoint assaults on local cab drivers – during a four-week armed robbery spree,” District Attorney Zugibe said. “Simply put, he terrorized our local taxi industry. He has proven himself to be a menace to others and deserves many years in prison.” 

From October 30, 2017 to November 20, 2017, Zugibe said Vaughan summoned taxi cabs on at least seven separate occasions. In one incident, on October 31, 2017, after summoning a cab in the Village of Spring Valley, the defendant and another individual placed a knife to the driver’s neck and directed the victim to hand over his cash to the defendant. During another incident, on November 11, 2017, following a cab ride in Spring Valley, the defendant physically attacked the driver as he counted change. Vaughan ultimately forcibly stole $100 from the victim’s hand and fled. On November 17, 2017, the defendant and another individual chased and violently assaulted a taxi driver in Spring Valley, ultimately stealing $100 from the victim.  

On October 30, 2017, following a cab ride through Spring Valley, Vaughan provided a counterfeit $100 bill to pay for the $35 fare, Zugibe said. Vaughan was arrested following investigations by the Spring Valley Police Department, the Town of Ramapo Police Department and the Town of Haverstraw Police Department. The defendant was remanded following the guilty plea. 

Sentencing will be on November 27, 2018. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and five years post release supervision. In addition, orders of protections will be issued for each the victims and the defendant will be required to pay restitution. Additionally, the defendant admitted to a violation of probation arising out of the conviction in this case. Vaughan was on felony probation for Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree at the time he committed the string of assaults and robberies. Supervising Assistant District Attorney Nabeela McLeod prosecuted the case.