A reputed kingpin of a Brooklyn heroin ring that allegedly included an NBA star was released from jail Wednesday after claiming for months he was wrongly arrested, the Daily News has learned.
Then-acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez last May 4 announced the indictment of 13 alleged drug traffickers who peddled heroin throughout Brooklyn.
Among the defendants were Richard (Cristiano) Rivera and former hoops star James (Fly) Williams.
Rivera, 45, faced up to 25 years in prison for a conviction on the top charge of conspiracy.
Though his lawyer, Patrick Brackley, has long maintained Rivera was misidentified, he’s been held on $250,000 bail set by Justice Danny Chun, who dismissed five of the charges against him.
Prosecutors have now agreed to release him on his own recognizance as they continue to investigate.
“This guy was once charged as a kingpin in a heroin trafficking organization. Today he is a free man through large part of the efforts of the detectives and the district attorneys of the Kings County DA’s office,” said Brackley.
But Chun warned Rivera he must return to court as the case is still under investigation.
“I’m just happy to be out,” Rivera said outside of Brooklyn Supreme, as he embraced his wife, Jacqueline Perez.
“I’m happy right now. His family is waiting at home for him…very emotional,” said Perez, 38.
Rivera is expected back in court April 12. The case against 66-year-old Williams is still pending.
Send a Letter to the Editor
Shayna Jacobs, Christina Carrega