Photo Courtesy of DOJ
Michael Crumble (l.) and Ramell Markus
By Michael V. Cusenza
Following a brief trial, a federal jury on Monday morning convicted two Brooklyn men of kidnapping and torturing an Ozone Park man in an attempt to obtain drugs, cash, and information, according to the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Michael Crumble, 34, and Ramell Markus, 35, were found guilty of kidnapping conspiracy, kidnapping, and committing physical violence in furtherance of an extortion. They were indicted in February.
According to court filings and evidence presented at the six-day trial, Crumble, Markus, and a third co-conspirator who later cooperated with the government abducted, assaulted, and extorted Daniel Nieves in the early morning hours of Dec. 18, 2017. At that time, Nieves left his Ozone Park home to meet Markus in Markus’ car. As Nieves got into the backseat, Crumble and the unidentified third man came out of the shadows and pushed him further into the car, where a gun was pressed against his head. Markus then pistol-whipped Nieves across the head. While in the vehicle, Markus demanded that Nieves give the crew drugs that they believed he had at his home.
The crooks then drove Nieves to a residence in Brooklyn and forced him inside while demanding that he give up the cash and drugs. They also demanded that Nieves disclose the address of a location that the perpetrators believed contained additional money, as well as jewelry. To force Nieves to comply, Markus broke a glass on his face, and the co-conspirator repeatedly burned both of Nieves’ arms with a hot iron. Nieves eventually called his fiancée and told her to gather his money and narcotics, which Markus and Crumble retrieved from outside the Ozone Park residence.
Not satisfied with the drugs and cash, the crew continued to keep Nieves captive, and drove him to a hotel where they forced him to stay while they waited for another individual to call Nieves, who would supposedly provide the address that the trio sought. After waiting a number of hours, they forced Nieves back inside the car and took him back to his borough home. Because Nieves refused to give up the address, they forced him to provide a pound of marijuana as collateral.
In total, the defendants kidnapped Nieves for approximately eight hours, according to federal authorities.
Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said Crumble and Markus “will now be held responsible for their ruthless conduct.”
When sentenced, they face a maximum of life imprisonment.