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Old 06-08-2019, 10:19 AM
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Default Manhattan DA helps deported Dominican Republic crack dealer get green card in exchange for testimony


Manhattan DA helps deported crack dealer get green card in exchange for testimony
By Rebecca Rosenberg
June 7, 2019 | 10:03pm | Updated June 8, 2019 | 7:54am

Manhattan prosecutors are helping an admitted crack cocaine dealer and illegal immigrant deported in 2007 get a green card to live in the US in exchange for ear-witness testimony in a slay case.

Roberto Jose Carvajal had been booted back to his native Dominican Republic 12 years ago after he landed on ICE’s radar when he was arrested for possessing 2 grams of coke.

He was recently returned to the US by prosecutors to testify in the case of school-bus-driver-turned-accused-killer Zunilda Rosario, according to court testimony Friday.

Rosario is on trial for allegedly shooting dead her cheating, drug-dealing baby daddy, Juan Deleon, in February 1990 when she was 21. She wasn’t nabbed until 2016, when a witness, not Carvajal, came forward with new information.

Rosario’s lawyer, Frank Rothman, challenged Carvajal’s credibility in court by repeatedly asking about the prosecution’s promise to help him obtain a green card.

“This office has told you in exchange for coming to court and testifying, they will help you with your papers?” the lawyer asked.

“Yes,” Rosario answered through a Spanish interpreter.

“You were a drug dealer?” asked Rothman.

“Yes,” Carvajal replied.

In redirect, Assistant DA Erin Tierney acknowledged her office’s deal with the witness, asking Carvajal again, “Is that the reason you’re testifying?”

“Yes,” he answered.

On the night of the slaying, Carvajal said, he was with best friend Deleon, 20, hanging out at the drug-infested Harlem building where they helped run a $2 million-a-month crack-cocaine operation.

Carvajal told jurors that Rosario showed up as he and Deleon were walking downstairs from the stash apartment, where they kept guns and narcotics.

The witness said he went inside the ground-floor apartment, where the crew hung out, and left Deleon in the lobby to talk to Rosario — then heard a “Pow! Pow!”

He said he fled out the apartment’s window as Deleon, riddled with bullets, collapsed on the lobby floor and died Feb. 11.

Prosecutors say Rosario shot Deleon in a jealous rage because he fathered a boy with another woman. She fled after the shooting, they say.

Rosario eventually moved to Providence, RI, where she lived a quiet life raising the two daughters she had with Deleon, driving a school bus and baking wedding cakes for extra cash.

In 2015, a drug-dealer-turned-government-informant came forward and fingered her for the slaying after he was busted on drug and gun raps.

The unnamed cooperator has been permitted to testify in a sealed courtroom and is hoping for leniency when he’s sentenced to up to life in prison in federal court, Rothman said.

The defense lawyer has argued that none of the witnesses saw Rosario pull the trigger and that the building was a known drug den where another dealer had been murdered just a year earlier in the same spot.

The trial continues Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court before Justice Michele Rodney.
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