Three N.J. Men Indicted for Brutal Kidnapping and Extortion Attempt in Astoria

Three N.J. Men Indicted for Brutal Kidnapping and Extortion Attempt in Astoria

By Forum Staff

Last week, in federal court in Brooklyn, a superseding indictment was unsealed charging New Jersey residents Aasim Boone, Jarrett Bruce, and Lesly Valentin with one count of kidnapping conspiracy and Valentin with one count of transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, prosecutors said.

The charged crimes arise from the December 2022 abduction and attack on a victim in Astoria. Valentin, 38, was previously arrested and charged in the underlying indictment with transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort and is currently in custody. Boone, 41, was arrested last Tuesday, and Bruce, 40, was arrested last Wednesday. Valentin was previously arrested and is being held in custody pending trial. Valentin will be arraigned on the superseding indictment at a later date.

As set forth in court filings, Boone, Bruce and Valentin conspired to kidnap the victim on Dec. 9, 2022. The victim was seized from outside of his apartment complex in Astoria. After forcing the victim at gunpoint into a vehicle, the assailants drove the victim to New Jersey, subjected him to escalating forms of torture, and held him for nearly five hours.

Among other things, the assailants beat the victim with a gun, poured bleach on him, burned his back and legs with a blowtoch, and also sliced the victim’s ear with a knife. The victim was ultimately released on the Upper East Side. A few days after the kidnapping, one of the defendants—Valentin—sent text messages to the victim, threatening him and his family if he failed to pay the defendants $150,000 in cash and 50 pounds of marijuana.

“Valentin warned that the victim had one hour to produce the money, before adding, “Just know that its on u if n e thing happens to ya loved ones”—clearly threatening to inflict similar harms on people the victim cared about.

All three defendants have extensive criminal histories, and are believed to have participated in a series of residential burglaries committed by a violent street gang operating out of New Jersey. Valentin had also previously pleaded guilty in New Jersey state court to aggravated assault in connection with a prior kidnapping.

“As alleged, the crimes in this case are very disturbing. The defendants targeted an unsuspecting victim, abducted him outside of his home and subjected him to unimaginable cruelty—all in their efforts for financial gain,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace. “My office will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the victim here receives justice and that our community is safe from these senseless acts of violence.”

If convicted of kidnapping conspiracy, Boone, Bruce, and Valentin face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

“A victim subjected to kidnapping, brutal beatings, inhumane torture, and cash demands—this not a plot from a movie—these three defendants allegedly conspired and carried out these despicable acts on their target. The alleged actions of Boone, Bruce, and Valentin are disturbing and will not be tolerated. FBI New York is determined to ensure brazen individuals willing to use inconceivable violence for financial gain are brought to justice,” added Federal Bureau of Investigation New York field office Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith.


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