A Brooklyn court on Tuesday heard gruesome details of how two men allegedly kidnapped and tortured a drug dealer for heroin and cash.
As the trial for Michael Crumble, 34, and Ramell Markus, 35, began, prosecutors outlined how the duo and another man tormented Daniel Nieves in December last year — cracking a glass over his face and then burning his arms with an iron across eight excruciating hours.
“What Mr. Nieves endured can be described only as torture,” assistant US attorney Lindsay Gerdes told Brooklyn federal jurors.
“They smashed a glass cup against his mouth, they tied him up and they burned him with a hot iron.”
The third man — drug dealer-turned-government cooperator Tyrone Burch — then took the witness stand and recounted how they ambushed Nieves on Dec. 18, planning to rob him for heroin and $100,000.
Burch — who pleaded guilty to kidnapping — said they pushed him into the back of a car, pulled a gun and demanded the goods.
Nieves told them he didn’t have anything on him, so Markus pistol whipped him three or four times, the 35-year-old said.
They hauled Nieves to an apartment on Gates Avenue then restrained him with zip ties — and Markus again smashed him in the face with a glass when he broke free, Burch testified.
But Nieves still wouldn’t give up the location of his stash, and that’s when Burch says he pulled out the iron.
“I told him if he didn’t give me the drugs and the money I was going to burn him,” he told the court.
“I picked up the iron and felt it was hot and I burned him with the iron.”
Eventually Nieves caved, and he called his fiancé to bring the men money and weed.
Crumble’s lawyer attacked both Nieves and Burch’s credibility in his opening statements, calling them “opportunists of the highest order.”
“Burch is literally a career criminal,” said attorney Kannan Sundaram.
Markus’s lawyer followed suit, noting that Nieves “was a major heroin and fentanyl dealer.”
“People died from the heroin he produced,” said Charles Hockbaum.
Nieves is expected to testify Wednesday.
Crumble and Markus face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
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