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Brown celebrates year of success

(l.-r.) Senior Assistant District Attorney Julie Trivedi, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Detective David Leonardi and Queens DA Richard Brown stand behind a table, where items including guns and drugs recovered during Operation South Side were displayed at a news conference in May 2012. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

By the numbers, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown reflected on his office’s work throughout 2012 and said his staff played a major role in curbing the city’s crime.

Brown, who has begun his 22nd year as the borough’s chief law enforcement officer, released a year-ending message highlighting the most notable prosecutions and investigations to come out of his office during 2012.

“We continue to be, I believe, among the best prosecutor’s offices in the country,” Brown said. “Last year, our office handled more than 70,000 arrest cases — cases running the gamut from quality-of-life offenses to serious violent felonies. And, by any standard, we handled those cases efficiently and judiciously.”

Brown referred to a New York Law Journal review of the city’s prosecutor’s offices, which found Queens to have the highest felony conviction rate and lowest felony dismissal rates. The results, the district attorney said, were indicative of his office’s aggressive approach against crime.

“These numbers should come as no surprise as we are citywide leaders in many categories, including consistently maintaining the best arrest to arraignment time in the city and the highest percentage of cases arraigned within 24 hours,” Brown said.

In the message, Brown remembered his Top 11 prosecutions of the year, which included the conviction of Crips street gang members, and cited four of his most notable investigations of 2012, including “Operation Heroin Highway,” in which 105 Long Island residents were arrested on drug charges in January.

More recently, Brown pointed to the November second-degree murder conviction of Benjamin Moreira, who in July 2010 stabbed a Woodhaven man to death at a nearby subway station.

“Despite the many challenges that we daily face, our Investigations Division continues to make the big cases,” Brown said. “We have no appellate backlog and our judges continue to praise our professionalism.”

He also mentioned his office’s partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the year to launch projects such as the Prescription Drug Initiative, which sought to target an increase in opioid drug abuse.

“We have consistently brought major cases dismantling violent gun and drug gangs and rescuing young women from underage prostitution and sex trafficking rings,” Brown said. “And we have successfully taken down white collar enterprises involved in identity theft, credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, auto theft and insurance fraud and illegal gambling.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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