Drug ring arrests end murder mystery
By Aimee Kuvadia
The grisly details behind a decade-old cold case murder involving the alleged maneuverings of an international drug ring, has led all the way to Riverdale Park.
In March 2011, NYPD K-9 units and more than two-dozen agents armed with shovels, scoured the Riverdale Park woods on a tip from an informant about a murder victim he had buried there more than a decade ago, according to a source with knowledge of the case.
By late 2011, no body had been found and members of the 50th Precinct, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the United States Department of Justice, the NYPD Cold Case Squad and Red Rum, an interagency taskforce that investigates drug-related murders, abandoned the search that had taken place over six months in the area between Palisade Avenue and Spalding Lane.
Now the cold case murder might finally be solved.
A 103-page indictment unsealed in a Manhattan federal court on Aug. 21, accused Orlando Rodriguez, 36, of strangling Carlos Valentin, also known as “Campi,” to death in or around Riverdale Park in 2000. Mr. Rodriguez was arrested in the Dominican Republic Aug. 16 and is awaiting extradition.
The Riverdale Park murder was allegedly the work of a far-reaching, New York City-based marijuana trafficking ring, which included eight others — two of them Bronxites — all of whom were indicted on federal racketeering charges and some who stand accused of marijuana trafficking, money laundering and firearms offenses. among others.
“It is related and it is still under investigation,” Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Erin Lane Mulvey said of the mysterious dig and the recent takedown of Rodriguez Enterprises.
Mr. Rodriguez’s brother, Manuel Geovanny Rodriguez-Perez, 39, was the alleged ringleader of the marijuana ring. He has been accused of five murders that took place in Upper Manhattan, the Bronx and Englewood, N.J., and a panoply of other crimes, including filtering illegally earned profits from his drug business into real estate in New York, Florida and the Dominican Republic.