A Bronx man is facing federal murder and conspiracy charges after authorities claim he executed a fellow gang member in Suffolk County in 2019 because the victim was working with law enforcement officials as a confidential informant.
Manhattan federal prosecutors have alleged William Jones, 43, belongs to the Trinitarios street gang and along with others drove Frederick Delacruz from the Bronx to Wheatley Heights on Dec. 28, 2019, before fatally shooting him.
Suffolk police said at the time that they found Delacruz, 30, lying on the side of Little East Neck Road between Charlestown and Westmore places shortly before 3 a.m. that day after getting a 911 call. First responders took the Bronx man to a local hospital, but he didn't survive.
Court records show a magistrate judge signed an order Thursday that unsealed a five-count indictment against Jones accusing him of charges that include conspiracy to murder a federal informant, murder of a federal informant and murder using a firearm.
On Friday, Jones pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment in Manhattan federal court, according to his attorney, George Goltzer. He confirmed that his client remains in custody but declined to comment on details of the case.
"We look forward to defending him in court," the Manhattan defense lawyer added.
The indictment includes allegations that Jones, who uses the street name "Principe," and others murdered Delacruz — a fellow Trinitarios gang member — to prevent him from communicating with law enforcement and also to retaliate for Delacruz having done so.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan said several agencies collaborated on the investigation, including the FBI, the NYPD and Suffolk police. Law enforcement officials said they arrested Jones on Thursday.
Suffolk Acting Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron said in a statement that authorities hoped Jones' arrest "will reinforce the partnership between members of law enforcement and those who put themselves at risk to provide valuable information in criminal investigations."
Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement that the case shows authorities "will be relentless in our pursuit of anyone who seeks to harm a witness to a crime."