Rockland County DA Assists in Major Trafficker’s Indictment in NYC on Kidnappings and Assault Charges

Jonathan Huertas, known as “El Don,” is set to face prosecution in New York City after spending a year and a half as a fugitive in Mexico. The Manhattan Supreme Court has filed an indictment charging Huertas with operating as a major trafficker and orchestrating two kidnappings and assaults in the Morris Park neighborhood of the Bronx in early 2022. The indictment also alleges plans for a third kidnapping, all linked to an alleged drug-related dispute.

Huertas fled New York following the arrests of three of his co-conspirators. He was arrested in Jalisco, Mexico, in September 2023, on a federal warrant and subsequently deported. An investigation revealed that the kidnappings and assaults were a result of a narcotics theft dispute.

Huertas is scheduled to be arraigned today before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Steven Statsinger in Part 22. The indictment, filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, includes charges of Conspiracy in the Second Degree, Operating as a Major Trafficker, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First and Third Degrees, Kidnapping in the Second Degree, Assault in the Second Degree, and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree.

Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York Division, and New York City Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban jointly announced the 12-count indictment during the arraignment.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan stated, “The illegal drugs flooding our city are not only causing record overdose deaths, but members of criminal organizations involved in the importation and distribution have been charged with crimes of cruelty and disregard for human life. Today’s announcement demonstrates the commitment of federal, state, and local law enforcement to assuring that those responsible are held accountable.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino said, “This indictment demonstrates the dark side of drug trafficking; threats of violence, kidnapping, and torture. DEA is committed to bringing criminals to justice, no matter where they might flee. In this case, the global reach of DEA and our law-enforcement partners tracked Jonathan Huertas to Jalisco, MX, in order for him to face the consequences of his crimes.”

NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban added, “New York City law enforcement clearly has a long reach, and anyone who involves themselves in drug trafficking and its associated violence here will assuredly be identified, investigated, and arrested – wherever they try to hide. This indictment reflects criminality that will never be tolerated in our city, and the NYPD and our dedicated state and federal partners vow to continue battling this persistent threat.”

The investigation was conducted by DEA NY Division, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) New York Field Operations, and the New York State Police, with assistance from the U.S. Marshal’s Service and Mexican authorities.

According to the indictment, in late January and early February 2022, Huertas allegedly participated in the kidnapping and assault of two individuals and planned the kidnapping of another. Following the arrests of three alleged co-conspirators in February 2022, Huertas fled to Mexico, where he was apprehended more than a year and a half later.

Audio and video recordings recovered from cellphones and iCloud accounts captured portions of the kidnappings. Surveillance footage from the basement apartment where the crimes occurred also revealed the defendant, his co-conspirators, and two victims entering and exiting.

On February 1, 2022, law enforcement officers observed co-conspirator Ronny Jimenez entering and exiting a basement apartment on Bronxdale Avenue in the Bronx. Ronny Jimenez was later arrested, and a loaded handgun was recovered from his vehicle. A subsequent search of the apartment resulted in the seizure of narcotics and evidence suggesting a kidnapping may have occurred there.

A third co-conspirator, Jasmin Roman, was also arrested, and video surveillance showed her regularly entering and exiting the apartment during the conspiracy.

Video recordings and text communications allegedly indicated that Huertas and others planned the kidnappings and assaults in an effort to recover narcotics stolen from a stolen Toyota Highlander on January 29, 2022.

After the arrests of Ronny Jimenez, Cesar Jimenez, and Jasmin Roman in early February 2022, Huertas fled from New York. At the time of his arrest in Jalisco, Mexico, in September 2023, Huertas was in possession of a fraudulent Mexican identification card in addition to his New York State identification.

Huertas, who was on supervisory release for a federal oxycodone conspiracy conviction from 2014, now faces state charges in New York State Supreme Court.

Ronny Jimenez and Cesar Jimenez have already pleaded guilty to various charges and received prison sentences, while Jasmin Roman received probation.

The investigation received support from various law enforcement agencies, including the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, DEA Miami Division, HSI New York, HSI Miami, New York/New Jersey Port Authority Police Department, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Yonkers Police Department, and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), as well as the U.S. Marshal’s service and Mexican authorities.

Jonathan Huertas, also known as “El Don,” is charged with Conspiracy 2nd, Operating as a Major Trafficker, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 1st and 3rd Degree, Kidnapping 2nd Degree, Assault 2nd Degree, and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia 2nd Degree. It’s important to note that these charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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