The trial continued on Tuesday with cooperating witness Kristian Cruz, 24, returning to the witness stand. Cruz spent the entire day in front of the courtroom, enumerating his relationship with defendant Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack, and explaining the ins and outs of his drug dealing operation.
Much of the morning was centered around Mack’s alleged robbery of fellow Nine Trey member Roland “Ro Murda” Martin—the same robbery that 6ix9ine and his then-manager Kifano “Shotti” Jordan found out about moments after they had taken a photo with Mr. Met. Video was played in the courtroom of Mack in the aftermath of the incident, showing off a Range Rover and watch that appeared to be Martin’s, while an unseen person in the background yells, “Ro Murda, what up?” In the aftermath of the robbery, Cruz testified, Mack was kicked out of Nine Trey.
Cruz, who also testified about drug deals with Mack in 2015 and 2016, admitted to fabrications in his past, such as falsely telling one Nine Trey member that he won a $1,000-a-week-for-life lottery; and paying to have fake legal paperwork created that purported to show that he had made $2.2 million in an identity theft scheme. Cruz wanted, he said, “to make it look like I was making more money than I was.”
“I lied a lot previously,” Cruz admitted towards the end of the day. But now, facing 15 years to life in prison (unless his cooperation agreement is fulfilled), he is honest because his “life and freedom is on the line.” The witness copped to having pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes: conspiring to sell drugs with others, racketeering, two firearms charges, and obstruction of justice. As part of his agreement, he also admitted to (but was not charged with) a number of additional crimes, from counterfeiting to flying prostitutes in from California to purchasing drugs online.
Cruz, also known as YB for “Young Brooklyn,” began cooperating with the government in May 2018. As part of his cooperation, he made a number of taped phone calls to Jamel “Mel Murda” Jones, a former co-defendant in this case who pleaded guilty in April.
During the period of his cooperation, Cruz said, he also strung Martin along on a deal for a kilogram of fentanyl. Martin inquired whether he could buy it, Cruz testified. Cruz, unable to sell because of his situation, made the price point too high and complained about a “drought.”
Mack’s defense attorney Eylan Schulman cross-examined Cruz. He attempted to cast doubt on the witness’ credibility by pointing out his gang affiliations and past crimes. It was during cross examination that Cruz explained the economics of dealing heroin. He would, he explained, buy heroin for $55,000 a kilo, fentanyl for $6,500 a kilo, and “cut” (materials to stretch the drug) for an additional $500 per kilo. He would mix that together and sell the resulting three kilos of material all as heroin, taking in about $135,000.
One other notable detail came late in the day when Cruz admitted that he used to employ a female NYPD sergeant to transport drugs for him. “I never directly hired her,” Cruz said, explaining that instead, her services came through Aaron “Bat” Young (another former co-defendant in the case.
Cross-examination of Cruz continues on Wednesday, and the government will call three additional witnesses after that. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Longyear said that the government expects to rest its case by the end of the day. Counsel for co-defendant Anthony “Harv” Ellison said that they also plan to call the alleged victim of the October 2018 slashing (of which Ellison is accused) as a defense witness. Court is not in session on Friday of this week or Monday and Tuesday of next week, so it is possible the case may continue well into next week before there is a verdict.