Former anti-gun violence director-turned-drug-trafficker sentenced to 10 years in prison
A Bronx anti-gun violence director who was trafficking narcotics on the side was sentenced Thursday in Goshen to 10 years in prison after admitting to a secret double life.
Michael Rodriguez, 49, was the head of Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence when he was arrested by law enforcement in Orange County in July – just days after an interview with News 12 The Bronx in which he spoke about “bringing peace to the community” during an event for at-risk youth.
Authorities said the Yonkers man was found with more than a kilogram of cocaine, two guns and $167,000 in drug money during the execution of a search warrant at his home.
“It’s ironic someone who is an advocate against gun violence ends up getting arrested for having two guns in his house and is part of a major distribution drug ring,” said Judge Craig Brown during the sentencing.
Rodriguez was busted under a multiagency sweep dubbed “Operation Hide in Plain Sight,” that rounded up 14 other defendants who Rodriguez is accused of supplying fentanyl-laced drugs.
“The very guy that we have that’s supposed to be stopping gun violence in one jurisdiction is poisoning our jurisdiction up here,” said Orange County District Attorney Dave Hoovler.
Officials say Rodriguez agreed to forfeit the proceeds of the drug ring – a car and cash - as part of a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy and criminal possession of a controlled substance in October and will serve five years' post-release supervision when he’s released from prison.
Rodriguez didn’t speak in court when given the opportunity before sentencing, but the judge said the former anti-violence advocate told court officials during an interview for his pre-sentencing report that he turned to a life of crime out of “greed."
Representatives for BRAG had no comment.