Late yesterday afternoon, following a one week trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, returned a guilty verdict against James Cureton for drug and firearm related murder and drug trafficking. The charges arose out of the defendant’s participation in a murder that took place in Albany, New York. When sentenced by United States District Carol B. Amon, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years on the drug-related count of conviction.
The verdict was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.
“This verdict sends the clear message that drug traffickers who use violence as a tool of their trade will be investigated, apprehended, and held fully accountable for their crimes,” stated United States Attorney Capers. Mr. Capers thanked the Albany Police Department for its assistance in this case.
“The business of drug trafficking and criminal behavior doesn't often end with a healthy retirement in some sunny locale near a beach. In this case, the defendant who chose a life of crime will most likely spend the rest of it in federal prison for murder. The FBI Metro Safe Streets Task Force and our law enforcement partners will not stop going after criminals who make our communities dangerous for those people who choose to abide by the law,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez.
“For drug traffickers who use violence and murder to further their trade: we will employ every tool to bring justice for your victims. I thank the jury for their time in rendering this verdict,” stated New York Police Commissioner Bratton.
On October 31, 2009, Cureton and a coconspirator killed Raymond Books because he had ceased making payments on a $37,000 drug debt. Cureton drove with his coconspirator to Albany on the day of the murder and brought a spray bottle of cleaning solution to remove any traces of their presence at the crime scene. Before arriving, Cureton also enlisted another individual to get Brooks’s girlfriend out of their Albany apartment, ensuring there would be no witnesses there. Once inside the premises, the coconspirator shot and killed Brooks. Cureton then drove them back to Staten Island.
Later that night, Cureton reached out and began to intimidate potential witnesses who might be able to connect him to the murder. Cureton also continued trafficking narcotics with the coconspirator and their associates for several years after the murder.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs, and International Narcotics and Money Laundering Sections. Assistant United States Attorneys Alicyn Cooley and Jennifer Carapiet are in charge of the prosecution.
Staten Island, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-23 (CBA)