Welcome to NYC: Convicted extremist from NYC terror plot released from prison to homeless shelter

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MANHATTAN, NY – More than 30 years ago, a group of terrorists met with the ambition of unleashing terror upon New York City after they had successfully bombed the World Trade Center. 

This group, including Victor Alvarez, planned on bombing two highway tunnels that run between New York City and New Jersey, the United Nations Headquarters, and the FBI building. 

If this group was successful, major losses of life would have surely been the result, to include assassination plans for the UN Secretary of the time, a New York Senator, and a Brooklyn Assemblyman. 

FBI agents moved in quicker than they wanted to during their investigation because they were afraid they would not be able to stop it if they waited. 

Alvarez was one of the persons who was arrested and convicted, sentenced to 30 years in prison, and has just been released to the streets of New York.

Welcome to NYC: Convicted extremist from NYC terror plot released from prison to homeless shelter
Credit NY Post

Alvarez was in court and requested to be speak directly to the judge regarding his release.  The judge instead referred him to his attorney, Carla Sanderson, who he told that he wanted “to be free from mental health treatment.  I want to be free now.” 

Prosecutors argued that Alvarez should undergo a “risk assessment and mental health evaluation” and be forced to undergo a “deradicalization program,” restrictions which were argued against by Sanderson. 

Ultimately, the Judge, knowing that Alvarez intended to stop all mental health treatment and attempted to kill thousands in the past, denied the motion presented by the prosecutors. 

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Alverez was then fitted with electronic monitoring (GPS anklet) and was approved to stay at the Bellevue Men’s Shelter in Kips Bay, a homeless shelter.  Federal Judge Vernon Broderick determined the monitoring was necessary after prosecutors were successfully argue that mental conditions contributed to Alverez’s behavior prior to his arrest and while in prison. 

Prosecutors wrote:

“These issues continued to contribute to violent and disruptive behavior when the defendant was incarcerated.  Between 1993 and 2013, the defendant received 155 prison disciplinary reports, including for assaulting, spitting on, and threatening officers, possessing a weapon, flooding his cell, and keeping containers of urine and rotten milk in his cell.” 

Prosecutors noted that Alvarez’s mental state and actions have improved since he was involuntarily medicated in prison, however, with his unwillingness to continue mental treatment, it would seem possible that he will return to his old ways.

Although not all of Alvarez’s crimes are clear, what is known for certain that he was assisting in making an explosive cocktail that federal agents referred to as the “witch’s brew.” 

This concoction was located inside a building which had been rented by the group for the purposes of making explosive devices and material.  Alvarez was found guilty of his crimes in 1995 after a long trial in which audio and video recordings were surreptitiously made by an informant in the group. 

Alvarez’s release to a homeless shelter after prosecutors unsuccessfully argued that he be placed in a halfway house during his first year out of the prison. 

In this agreement, Alvarez may continue to live in a shelter provided he abide by the rules and not be evicted “for failing to abide by shelter rules or for his misbehavior.” 

If he does so, Alvarez would then be sent to a halfway house and confined there except for “work, healthcare appointment, religious observances or other acceptable reasons as approved by Probation,” according to court documents. 

Releasing someone like Alvarez to a homeless shelter, who has a diagnosed mental instability and who has actively participated in acts to destroy buildings and kill thousands may not be the best idea given today’s current climate. 

Especially considering that he has no intention of following through with any of the mental health care he had been forced to undergo while incarcerated. 

Report: More than 100 Rikers Island inmates have been arrested again after being released

May 14, 2020 – NEW YORK, NY- A new report shows that more than 100 Rikers Island inmates have been rearrested after being released over their health concerns during this national crisis.

The New York Post reported that about 110 inmates accounted for 190 arrests since the pandemic first hit New York City.

Of the 190 arrests, 45 were for burglaries, according to NYPD data.  They say it’s helping contribute to a 43-percent spike in break-ins over the past month.

The Post reports that one of them was 37-year-old Jerard Iamunno.  He was arrested Sunday night after police say he robbed a 59-year-old man at a Harlem ATM with a knife, leading to the man handing over $20 in cash.

On March 25, Iamunno was released after he pleaded guilty to grand larceny and a separate drug charge.

Last month, more than 16,000 inmates were reportedly released from facilities all over the U.S., including about 1,500 from New York City jails.

According to Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio, those rearrested have “thrown away their second chance”.  He made the comments, adding that it’s now up to the NYPD to control the chaos they’ve created.

“I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done,” he said during a news briefing.

“We’re going to keep, just buckling down on it, making sure there is close monitoring and supervision to the maximum extent possible and the NYPD is going to keep doing what they’re doing.”

Fox News reports that Hollywood elites like Joaquin Phoenix, along with congressional Democrats, have been pushing for the release of prisoners.  They argue it’s to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. 

In April, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee pushed the Attorney to “release as many prisoners as possible.”

The letter was sent by Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.  He was apparently in response to the death of the first federal prisoner due to COVID-19.

Fox News reports that San Bernadino County Sheriff John McMahon and others have pushed back against the measure.  He said these moves will pose a danger to the public.

He argued in an April interview with Fox 11 that repeat child abusers are able to benefit from California’s $0 cash bail emergency mandate, and he said they’re being put back into the public.

He pointed out there are 13 exceptions for serious offenses, but child abuse was not one of them.

“Felony child abuse does not fit into that list of 13, so even though this guy had a prior for domestic violence conviction for child abuse, he gets arrested for child abuse again, and then he gets released on zero bail with a court date in July,” McMahon said.

“So that just doesn’t make any sense to me, maybe I’m missing something, but that doesn’t seem to me to be the right thing to do to protect the citizens of our county. If that person is in our custody, we can protect the victim, if he’s not, we can’t.”

In April, we reported that someone who was being held in jail under rape charges was released from Rikers over COVID-19 fears and was then rearrested for an attempted rape.

Even Sesame Street’s Count von Count would have a hard time keeping track of how many screw-ups the prison-covid-coddling has mustered up.

Police say that 57-year-old Robert Pondexter was arrested in the early morning hours of April 25th, after he reportedly tried to rape a woman in a school parking lot. Officials stated that Pondexter grabbed a 58-year-old woman by her collar, not far from the Concern Heights Apartments, and choked her prior to forcing her to perform oral sex.

He then allegedly instructed the victim to remove her undergarments, but she was able to kick Pondexter off of her and escape.

Pondexter had been released from Rikers on April 15th, reportedly over concerns of COVID-19 spreading through the facility. He was in Rikers in the first place because of an alleged rape..

Maybe people in jail under allegations of criminal acts akin to rape shouldn’t be high on the priority-list of COVID-19 releases. I mean, there had to have been some other inmates that could have been a better choice for release other than the suspected rapist.

Police say that when they arrested Pondexter on the 25th, he was in possession of a crack pipe. Chances are, whoever approved his release might have one at their residence as well, because you’d have to be high to think a suspected rapist is a good candidate for a COVID-19 release.

Of course, this nonsense came just days after Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to keep a better eye on those COVID-19 releases. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio has had a little bit of a reoffender issue regarding the combination of both bail reform and now releases attributed to COVID-19 within the city’s jails.

So, when he addressed the press on April 20th about the issues, he noted that they’re going to be keeping track of released inmates to the “maximum step possible.”

After releasing the likes of about 1,400 inmates from Rikers, Mayor Bill de Blasio was fairly perturbed to hear that those who were shown compassion “allegedly” decided to reoffend:

“I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy and this is what some of them have done.”

While the number of those rearrested is minute compared to those released, that doesn’t change the fact that the mayor is upset that there were any re-arrests of that population to begin with:

“We do see some recidivism. I have not seen a huge amount, but any amount is obviously troubling.”

Mayor de Blasio stated that of those inmates who were recently released due to COVID-19 fears, officials will be working hard to keep a close eye on them:

“We’re going to just keep buckling down on it, making sure there’s close monitoring and supervision to the maximum step possible. And the NYPD is going to keep doing what they’re doing.”

You know, those expressed sentiments from the mayor of New York City would be a lot more comforting if the entire state didn’t have such a crummy track record of keeping tabs on people already on parole.

Or if good ol’ Mayor de Blasio showed his NYPD any type of support. Like, any at all.

Multiple unions with the NYPD, especially the Sergeants Benevolent Association, doesn’t pull punches when it comes to telling de Blasio just how much they resent his lack of leadership and support to the officers in his city.

Not that it makes the mayor change his ways, but at least people know from how vocal the unions are that the police are trying to do everything they can to make New York a better and safer city. But it’s not an easy thing to do when no matter what you do, politicians will help the media paint you to be the bad guy.

Not to mention the fact that the city, and the state for that matter, don’t listen to the subject matter experts when it comes to things like bail reform, inmate release, and monitoring. 

Back in February of this year, we reported on how the state had royally screwed the pooch when it came to monitoring recently paroled prisoners.

A recent investigation done by CBS 6 revealed that New York state has lost track of literally thousands of people on parole – you know, the people that need to be most closely monitored upon reentering society.

According to the outcome of the investigation, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision can’t account for nearly one out of ten people on parole in the state.

The parolees unaccounted for within the state are what’s known as “absconders”.

Karen Zieglar functions as the Director of the Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center was surprised to hear how many were on the lamb in the state. That number being 3,275. Zieglar was astounded by that figure:

“Wow. I don’t think anyone in the community is aware of that number.”

That was the figure reported as of January 6th of this year, only a few days after “bail reform” started.  Updated figures – which may be considerably higher – weren’t available as of the time of this report.

People who “abscond” from their parole are individuals who are required to maintain contact with the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision while finishing up the remainder of their sentences while at home or a halfway house.

This typically entails cadenced visits on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, with periodic drug and alcohol screenings for those with a history of substance abuse.

Zieglar noted that these parolees who have vanished aren’t exactly the harmless type:

“These are not your average pickpocketers, these are people who are hurting and potentially devastating other people’s lives.”

This couldn’t be a truer of a statement by Zieglar. In fact, the local CBS 6 station was alerted about a recent absconder who was on parole for manslaughter while they were meant to be supervised.

When authorities finally caught up with the individual, they weren’t arrested for absconding from parole – they were arrested in connection with the shooting of a 16-year-old.

According to the DOCCS, they arrested an average of 175 parole absconders every month of 2019, but people are absconding from parole faster than the state can corral them back up.

In June of 2019, the total absconders were 3,203 and by January of this year it climbed to 3,275. Zieglar was asked her thoughts on what the numbers make her wonder.

Karen Zieglar replied to that question with:

“I would certainly want to know what they’re doing to find them.”

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

Zieglar isn’t desolate in her wondering what the state is trying to do to address for those unaccounted convicted felons.

The local news crew went straight to Anthony Annucci, the Acting Commissioner of the DOCCS with that very question. However, when Annucci was approached, his staff alongside stated to direct all questions to his public relations director.

Apparently, all the public relations department would state was that efforts would be made to inform victims when certain parolees removed their GPS device:

“If there is a known threat to a victim attempts would be made to notify them.”

Call me a skeptic, but I doubt any standard citizen in New York is aware they’re entrenched in the parolee-version of Operation Fast and Furious. That same skepticism is shared by Zieglar:

“I don’t think victims are being told, I don’t think they’re warned, I don’t think they’re aware they’re safety is being compromised.”

Wayne Spence, who is a parole officer and also the President of the New York State Public Employees Federation, noted that any active absconder is a public risk. The union Spence heads represents over 900 parole officers throughout the state, and pointed out one of the largest factors contributing for those unaccounted for. He noted that New York has been eliminating parole officer positions since the 1990s:

“We are still in need of parole officers out there to do the job.”

According to Spence, case loads have gotten essentially unmanageable. He noted that there should be a parolee-to-parole officer ratio of 20-to-1, but the reality is that most officers are among a 60-1 ratio currently:

“It’s asking a parole officer to turn water into wine. You’re asking them to do miracles, and it just doesn’t happen.”

Information that the DOCCS was willing to release on absconders showed that 95 of the missing parolees were sex offenders and 50 were considered violent sex offenders.

Of course, those aren’t the current numbers, those were details they begrudgingly released that were from May of 2019.

So, what does the DOCCS think about all this? Well, they actually think they’re doing a bang-up job:

“DOCCS supervision standards exceed or are within the established American Probation and Parole Association and National Institute of Corrections recommended standards.”

Keeping track of 9 out of 10 parolees isn’t a number to be proud of – there are some tasks where your average can’t be that of an -A. If a pilot landed a plane properly 9 out of 10 times, they likely wouldn’t be a pilot. Some endeavors require near perfect execution – and the resources to accomplish that success as well.

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