Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that VANCE COLLINS, a/k/a “Big AK,” and RAMON RAMIREZ, a/k/a “Obendy,” were found guilty of hiring gang members to murder an individual believed to be having an affair with RAMIREZ’s wife. COLLINS was also convicted of possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony. COLLINS and RAMIREZ were convicted yesterday after a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Vance Collins and Ramon Ramirez tried to arrange for a murder. Now, in the first criminal trial in this District since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the defendants stand convicted and will face punishment for their crimes.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment and evidence at trial:
In around 2017, RAMIREZ learned that his wife was having an affair with another man (the “Victim”). RAMIREZ enlisted COLLINS, a high-ranking gang leader, to hire someone to kill the Victim. COLLINS turned to a member of his gang, who in turn enlisted another gang member, and those two gang members took steps to locate and surveil the Victim, intending to shoot or stab the Victim to death. One night in October 2018, the two hitmen encountered the Victim at the Victim’s home; however, the presence of another person thwarted their plan. One of the hitmen was arrested shortly thereafter, and the Victim was not killed. During his arrest, COLLINS was found to be in possession of three firearms, including one that he and one of the hitmen had acquired to use in the plot to kill the Victim.
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Count One charged the defendants with conspiracy to commit murder for hire in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1958, and Count Two charged the defendants with murder for hire in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1958 and 2. Count Three charged defendant COLLINS with possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Castel on February 10, 2021.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force, which comprises agents and task force officers from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, United States Probation Office, New York State Police, New York City Police Department, Mount Vernon Police Department, Yonkers Police Department, Greenburgh Police Department, Peekskill Police Department, Westchester County Police Department, and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamie Bagliebter, Adam Hobson, Frank Balsamello, Christopher Brumwell, and Celia Cohen are in charge of the prosecution.