Private Investigator Manuel Gomez exposes Trinitario Gang Leader.

CONCOURSE, The Bronx — A judge’s order to grant bail to an alleged gang leader may be connected to the brutal killing of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz. That’s a new angle in the story of the fight against gangs in New York City.

It’s a fight that’s described in similar ways, whether the description is from the NYPD commissioner, an ex-Trinitario, or a gang-busting private detective.

However, some differences regarding perceptions of gangs emerge when the three discuss how well the fight against them is going.

New York gangs commit “robberies, and deal drugs,” said Commissioner James O’Neill in a recent news conference. “But they also do credit card fraud, check forging schemes, identity theft, phone scams, and organized retail theft. Gangs are also involved in human trafficking, including the prostitution of underage girls.”

Similarly, a former gang member who agreed to an interview with PIX11 News on a condition of anonymity said about his gang, the Trinitarios, “They’re selling drugs, they send their people to kill anyone. A lot of people [in the gang are] doing robberies.”

“Kidnappng, extortion, murder, narcotics and intimidation,” are the activities of New York City gangs described by Manuel Gomez, a Bronx-based private detective whose work has gotten multiple gang members arrested for a variety of crimes, including the ones he listed.

While all three — the NYPD top brass, the ex-gang member and the private eye — agree that law enforcement has been taking action against gangs, there is a difference of opinion when the men discuss details of the fight against the mostly young men that the NYPD says are behind some 40 percent of violent crime in the city.

Specifically, the opinions diverge somewhat regarding the gang most prominently in the headlines now.

“We’re going to continue to target not just the Trinitarios,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Declan Shea at a news conference last month about gang activity, “but any street gang that’s involved in violence in New York City,” he said.

However, said Gomez, the private detective and former NYPD officer, more needs to be done to get the Trinitarios’ leader back into custody.

“Ediberto Santana is the leader of the Trinitarios for the three boroughs [of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan],” Gomez told PIX11 News. “He’s running the streets right now, on the loose.”

Santana is free on $100,000 bond in a case of weapons possession in Brooklyn. The NYPD arrested him on the charge in June, but, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, prosecutors asked that Santana be held without bail. Instead, a D.A.’s office spokesperson said, “The judge set $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.”

Santana, 28, has the title “El Primero,” or “The First One” in the gang, as well as a nickname, according to one of the Trinitarios’ former members. “Flaco Veneno,” is Santana’s name on the street, according to the ex-Trinitario, whose identity is being protected by PIX11 News.

The nickname, in Dominican slang, means “Skinny Poison.”

Santana got bail for the weapons possession charge despite the fact that he had already been out on bail at the time for a 2017 criminal case.

“He tried to burn the people alive in the home,” Gomez said about the earlier case, in which Santana had been charged with arson, burglary and reckless endangerment. “So he’s out walking the street, this killer,” Gomez said, “and he’s been involved in five other murders, free as day.”

Gomez maintains that Santana has been connected to at least two cases on which PIX11 News has reported. Even though other alleged Trinitarios members were arrested for the murders of Mohammed Jalloh in 2010, and Hansel Arias two years later, Santana, as the Trinitarios’ El Primero, would have had a role in directing those two murders, and, probably, others, according to Gomez, and according to the former Trinitarios gang member.

“‘Somebody has to die’, he says,” the ex-gang member told PIX11 News about an order he said he’d heard the Trinitarios leader give. “‘Yo, you’ve gotta go over there, and kill this guy.’ That’s it,” the former gang member, who has moved out of New York state for his safety, said in a Face Time interview.

“Junior’s death never should’ve happened,” said Gomez, about the Trinitarios gang, their leader, and his attachment to the 12 men charged in the most prominent murder in New York City in memory, that of Junior Guzman-Feliz, on June 20th.

Gomez said that not only is Santana connected to the order that resulted in the men fatally stabbing and slashing the 15 year-old Police Explorer in an apparent case of mistaken identity, but that “Jose Muniz, the guy holding the big black machete” in the attack on Junior, had also been “involved in the Hansel Arias murder,” according to Gomez. “PIX11 has the [surveillance] video of him running down the street to kill Hansel Arias,” the private detective said.

PIX11 News video shows a number of alleged gang members chasing Arias minutes before his fatal stabbing six years ago this month. Gomez maintains that one of the alleged gang members is Muniz, who has been indicted on murder and gang related charges in the case of the murder of Junior Guzman-Feliz.

Gomez said that if Muniz had been arrested in relation to the 2012 Arias murder, he wouldn’t have been free to have taken the order that ultimately led to Junior Guzman-Feliz’s death.

PIX11 News asked the NYPD command for comment on Santana’s status, during a news conference last month.

“There’s ongoing investigations going on right now,” replied Chief of Department Terence Monahan, “so we’re not going to mention anyone else that’s not in custody.”

Again, the NYPD had arrested Santana this past June. A judge ruled that he should be let go on bail.

Since then, El Primero and his fellow alleged gang members appear to have been quite busy.

“He’s out there taking pictures with the police, with his gang members,” members said Gomez, referring to photos that Santana and nine other alleged gang members took in front of unsuspecting NYPD patrol officers at a public event, and then posted on social media.

“They’re actually doing recruitments now, showing them taking pictures with cops,” Gomez said. In the photos, the alleged gang members show gang hand signals, just steps away from officers, who are turned the other way.

“So that people can see [that] you don’t even see when they’re there,” Gomez told PIX11 News. “That the police never pay attention. That’s scary. This is how brazen they are.”

That the Trinitarios, and, probably, other gangs, are getting more bold, Gomez, the former gang member, and NYPD top brass agree.

“We have to do more,” O’Neill said in the news conference in July that focused on fighting gang violence. “Homicides and shootings are way down, but we can do more.”

“Every time they get more bigger more biggest,” said the ex-Trinitario, referring to the gang’s recruitment efforts. “They get more people in the gang.”

To help stem recruiting, and to help stop the violence, the NYPD brass, the former gang member and the gang-busting private eye also agree that it takes more than just making arrests.

“We have to have commercials that say if you join a gang, this is what’s going to happen,” Gomez said. “Just like the adult smoking commercials, we need to have graphic commercials like that for the children.”

Commissioner O’Neill agreed that it’s not just the police department’s battle to fight alone.

“It can’t just be the NYPD,” O’Neill said. “It’s got to be everybody in the city. It’s got to be all 8.6 million New Yorkers. That’s the turning point that I’m looking for.”

Source –

PI Gomez found evidence proven man innocence

FORDHAM MANOR, the Bronx — Motorist Ramon Rodriguez was stopped by police four different times in the spring of last year, and one of the stops led to him being held in jail for over a week, on minor charges.

Cop who drew offensive scrawl on ticket gets disciplined, all charges against arrestee dropped

During the last incident, the detaining officer made a crude drawing on a traffic ticket issued to Rodriguez. The scrawl closely resembled male genitalia, and the officer tried to conceal what he’d done. Now, Officer Edgar Rivera is being disciplined by NYPD brass for misconduct. The violations for which Rodriguez was stopped and detained have now been dropped.

PIX11 News first reported the story last May when Rodriguez filed a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

During the traffic stops, Rodriguez had demanded, as was his right, that the detaining officers provide an explanation for the detainments. In the first two cases, officers refused to give him an explanation as to why they’d pulled him over.

In the last two cases, a broken brake light was given as the reason for the stops. Rodriguez took video of his brake lights immediately after the fourth stop, and also got a notarized statement from a mechanic to show that his brake lights were in working order.

When Rodriguez looked closely at the ticket that had been written against him during the fourth stop, he noticed a very distinctive scrawl on it. What appeared to be a drawing of a penis had apparently been etched onto the ticket by Officer Rivera.

“When I saw that, my reaction was like, ‘Wow,’” Rodriguez said in an interview last May. “How disrespectful. I felt really disrespected.”

The crude drawing was made, apparently, with a fingernail, so as not to leave an ink mark. It was made through the carbon copy of the ticket. In other words, a motorist couldn’t write it themselves. The way the ticket book is configured, only the issuing officer could write on the original, and through the carbon copy.

What’s more, it became evident that Ofc. Rivera had tried to cover up his conduct.

“See that number?” said Manuel Gomez, a private investigator, last spring, as he pointed to a reference number at the top of the traffic ticket in question. “That number goes to a booklet of tickets. Each cop has to sign for the booklet of tickets. So this will show which cop it belongs to. Now I’ve got ’em.”

Gomez, who was hired by Rodriguez to represent him in this case, was able to identify Ofc. Rivera. The private eye got Rodriguez to turn over all of the information to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. It’s a city entity that hears public complaints against police, then determines whether or not the complaints have merit. If they do, the board recommends disciplinary action against officers who’ve committed infractions.

In Ofcr. Rivera’s case, the board concluded that he had indeed acted wrongly against motorist Ramon Rodriguez. It recommended that Ofcr. Rivera receive additional training by his commanders, the lowest level of disciplinary action.

As for the traffic tickets that were written against Rodriguez, they were dropped on Wednesday.

“It’s final justice against the 52nd Precinct officers,” Gomez said in a phone interview on Thursday. “The fact that Rivera was found innocent also shows that justice can work, and this time, it did.”

Gomez added, though, that the situation is still not resolved.

The young man lost a week,” the private investigator said. “That’s how long he was locked up.”

Gomez said that Rodriguez is filing a civil suit against the city.

“They’re terrorizing the South Bronx,”

BELMONT, the Bronx — A 15-year-old Bronx boy whose fatal stabbing has shaken the community and spawned a hashtag, #JusticeforJunior, is being mourned as a good kid days after his slaying, while authorities hunt for the suspects they believe may be part of a gang.

Police responded to a call about an assault about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday in front of a deli along East 183rd Street and Bathgate Avenue.

Authorities arrived to find that Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, known as Junior, had been stabbed in the neck after he was involved in a dispute with a group of males outside the store.

The group fled the scene and Guzman-Feliz had run to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, police said.

Video surveillance shows the group allegedly involved in the stabbing running into and around the bodega around the time of the incident.

No arrests have been made.

Caterina Reeves was one of many in the community who visited the memorial Friday, outside of the deli where it happened.

“He was only 15 … he didn’t deserve that,” Reeves said. “He was a good kid. I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.”

Reeves said she and Guzman-Feliz were in the community’s law enforcement explorers program, which teaches teens about policing.

A relative, who did not want her identity revealed, is still in shock.

“He was a good kid — always in my house, playing video games, playing with my kids, taking them to the park, always playing basketball … all the time,” she said.

Guzman-Feliz’ death is sending shockwaves in the community, and on social media as the hashtag #JusticeforJunior began trending. Rapper Cardi B, a Bronx native, was among those paying tribute, posting on Instagram about getting justice for the teen.

Private Investigator Manuel Gomez says there is a big gang problem in the Bronx and he believes gang members are the ones who took Junior’s life.

“They’re terrorizing the South Bronx,” Gomez said. “And they are just as bad as MS-13.”

Investigators hope new video of Guzman-Feliz being dragged out of the deli just before he was stabbed to death will help them find his attackers.

“They are known for killing people with kitchen knives and machetes, that is their signature,” Gomez said.

Family and friends say they hope Guzman-Feliz’ killers are caught and justice is served.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Guzman-Feliz’ family to help with funeral costs and other financial difficulties. To donate, visit Justice For Junior.

“Every time I saw him he brought nothing but smiles to my face, to everyone’s face,” Reeves said.

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477),, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

Memorial for Lesandro Guzman-Feliz