United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York

04/01/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/01/2024 10:23

Two Individuals Indicted for Distributing Heroin and Fentanyl that Caused the Death of Transgender Activitst

Press Release

Two Individuals Indicted for Distributing Heroin and Fentanyl that Caused the Death of Transgender Activitst

Monday, April 1, 2024
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Cecilia Gentili Died on February 6 After Using Lethal Drugs Sold by the Defendants

Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, a four-count indictment was unsealed charging Michael Kuilan and Antonio Venti with distributing the heroin and fentanyl that caused the death of New York transgender activist, Cecilia Gentili. Kuilan is also charged with unlawful gun possession. Kuilan and Venti are in custody and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Frank A. Tarentino, III, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Edward A. Caban, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.

"Cecilia Gentili, a prominent activist and leader of the New York transgender community was tragically poisoned in her Brooklyn home from fentanyl-laced heroin. Today, the alleged perpetrators who sold the deadly dose of drugs to Gentili have been arrested," stated United States Attorney Peace. "Fentanyl is a public health crisis. Our Office will spare no effort in the pursuit of justice for the many New Yorkers who have lost loved ones due to this lethal drug."

"Today's indictment delivers a strong message to anyone who profits from poisoning our communities with illicit drugs: There are dedicated investigators, across multiple agencies, working tirelessly to disrupt your shameful industry by pinpointing the source of these unlawful substances," stated NYPD Commissioner Caban. "It is imperative that we continue to hold distributors accountable for their callous actions. I commend the NYPD's partners at the DEA and the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York for their ongoing commitment to this critical mission."

"These arrests result in the charges brought against the defendants for causing the death of transgender rights activist Cecilia Gentile. Drug poisonings take too many lives too soon from communities nationwide and DEA is committed to bringing to justice those responsible. Fentanyl is a deadly drug that dealers mix into their product and has accounted for 70% of drug related deaths nationwide. The more people that know about the dangers of today's drug landscape, the more lives can be saved" stated Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino of the Drug Enforcement Administration - New York Division "The death of Ms. Gentile is a reminder of the dangers that illicit drugs have on all communities, including the LGBTQ+ community. I applaud the hard work by the DEA New York Division, NYPD Brooklyn South Narcotics and the U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York."

According to the indictment and court documents, on February 6, 2024, following a 911 call by Gentili's partner, NYPD officers reported to Gentili's home in Brooklyn, New York and found Gentili dead in her bedroom. Gentili died due to the combined effect of fentanyl, heroin, xylazine, and cocaine. Text messages, cell site data, and other evidence revealed that Venti sold the fentanyl and heroin mixture to Gentili on February 5, 2024, and Kuilan supplied Venti with those lethal narcotics.<_w3a_sdtpr>

In addition, law enforcement searched an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn belonging to Kuilan and found hundreds of baggies of fentanyl, a handgun, and ammunition.

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If found guilty, they face up to life in prison.

The government's case is being handled by the Office's International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Amir is in charge of the prosecution, with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Samuel Ronchetti.

The <_w3a_sdt docpart="D4AFD48DBA3C49AABFE9A828D5642CC6" dropdown="t" id="1174685880"><_w3a_listitem listvalue="Choose an item."> <_w3a_listitem datavalue="Defendant" listvalue="Defendant"> <_w3a_listitem datavalue="Defendants" listvalue="Defendants"> Defendants:

<_w3a_sdt docpart="1D822169AC014D16BDF9DFAABF27BD35" id="575010685">MICHAEL KUILAN
Age: 44<_w3a_sdt docpart="4CB4F76026694F56ACA9E0508797A946" id="-225534894">
Brooklyn, <_w3a_sdt docpart="06D7A1C6039F4B788B79647031837147" id="1586800551">New York

<_w3a_sdt docpart="BDCDC618820841DF8DEA49ACC98055E1" id="-1109966495">ANTONIO VENTI
Age: 52<_w3a_sdt docpart="A9A4123FFA934A0C91B420042A9EC2A5" id="1875107572">
West Babylon, <_w3a_sdt docpart="393C72522FDE4C43ACFCC232CBC0F301" id="-1330438756">New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. <_w3a_sdt docpart="D93DDD75EC92420BB7C22FAE99CA3454" id="-1950002052">24-CR-130 (BMC)


John Marzulli
Danielle Blustein Hass
U.S. Attorney's Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated April 1, 2024
Indictment [PDF, ]
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses