New York, NY - April 4, 2014 - Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Roger Key, a/k/a “Luchie,” a violent and large-scale drug trafficker who operated in Manhattan and the Bronx, New York, was found guilty yesterday in Manhattan federal court of two murder-for-hire conspiracies, attempted murder, and narcotics and firearms offenses. Key was convicted following a three-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “With this verdict, the jury has done a great service to the citizens of New York City, convicting Roger Key of numerous violent offenses, including murder-for-hire and orchestrating a sprawling drug trafficking network. I want to again thank New York County District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, and his office, who began the investigation into this alleged narcotics crew and shared the fruits of their investigation with our office, enabling us to build this case and bring this defendant to justice.”
According to court documents and the evidence presented at trial:
From 2009 through September 2012, Key was one of the most significant narcotics distributors operating in New York City. KEY supplied powder cocaine and crack cocaine to various drug organizations operating in Manhattan and the Bronx. Key also used, carried, and possessed firearms during the narcotics conspiracy.
In September 2010, Key conspired to commit the murder-for-hire of Terry Harrison, who was shot and killed on September 10, 2010, at 681 Courtlandt Avenue in the Bronx. Key paid another co-conspirator for committing the murder of Harrison, who was the leader of a rival drug trafficking crew with whom Key and his co-conspirators were engaged in a violent conflict over drug trafficking territory in the Bronx.
From October 2011 through December 2011, Key conspired to commit the murder-for-hire and aided and abetted the attempted murder-for-hire of Matthew Allen on November 16, 2011, which resulted in the non-fatal shooting of another victim at 302 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
Key was convicted of narcotics conspiracy, conspiracy to commit the murder-for-hire of Matthew Allen, the attempted murder-for-hire of Matthew Allen, conspiracy to commit the murder-for-hire of Terry Harrison, and firearms possession and use in connection with both the narcotics conspiracy and the Matthew Allen murder plot. Key was acquitted of the murder-for-hire of Terry Harrison, murder in connection with a drug crime, and a firearms possession charge in connection with that murder.
Key faces two mandatory sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus a mandatory consecutive term of 30 years in prison, and he will be sentenced by Judge Stein on August 19, 2014. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Key is the last of 18 defendants originally charged in this case to be convicted in proceedings before Judge Stein. Key is also the last of a total of four individuals who have been convicted of offenses relating to the conspiracy to commit the murder-for-hire and the attempted murder-for-hire of Matthew Allen.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of the Investigation, Westchester County Violent Crimes Task Force, and the New York City Police Department, including the 40th Precinct Detective Squad and the Manhattan North Narcotics Major Case Unit, who conducted the investigation of the case. Mr. Bharara also thanked the New York County District Attorney’s Office, who provided critical assistance in the investigation and prosecution of the case.
This case is being overseen by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Santosh Aravind, Abigail S. Kurland, and Adam Fee are in charge of the prosecution.