Seven Members, Associates, and Leaders of Folk Nation Gang Indicted for Alleged Racketeering and Murder

February 1, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 31, 2012 released the following:

Additional Charges Include Robbery, Assault, Illegal Use of Firearms, and Related Crimes

A superseding indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning charging seven members, associates, and leaders of the violent Brooklyn street gang “Six Tre Outlaw Gangsta Disciples Folk Nation,” also known as the “Folk Nation.” The 16-count indictment charges the defendants with violent crimes including racketeering, murder in-aid-of racketeering, murder conspiracy, attempted murder, robbery, assault, and illegal use of firearms.[1] Two defendants will be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The defendants face sentences up to life imprisonment if convicted.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department. As detailed in the indictment and other court filings submitted by the government, a two-year joint investigation by the FBI and the NYPD revealed that since 2008, a violent set of the Folk Nation gang committed numerous crimes of violence including four murders, three attempted murders, two assaults, and six robberies. The gang was based in the Ebbets Field Houses, a New York City public housing community, although its criminal activities extended into the Tri-State area.

The gang is alleged to have used extreme and indiscriminate violence to further its objectives. The defendants’ victims include a 10-year-old girl, who was severely injured when she was shot in the neck by gang members while they were attempting to murder a rival. The gang is alleged to have committed four murders, in an effort to assert its power over the neighborhoods in which it operated. On at least two occasions, gang members missed their intended targets and hit innocent bystanders—after one murder at a teenager’s birthday party in an Ebbets Field apartment, gang members acknowledged that they had killed the wrong person.

In order to fund its illegal activities, members of the gang allegedly committed violent robberies of individuals and commercial establishments. Members of the gang are alleged to have robbed the Lee Perla jewelry store at the Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, New Jersey, making off with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of luxury watches. According to the indictment, the gang also targeted individual robbery victims, whom they lured to secluded areas in Brooklyn, via Internet advertisements on Craigslist, and then robbed at gunpoint. According to a detention memorandum filed by the government, the charged murders and other acts of violence took place on public streets, in front of personal residences, and even on a playground, in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The charges announced today are the latest in a series of federal indictments in this district charging members of violent street gangs with racketeering crimes.

“Motivated by greed, the Folk Nation employed indiscriminate violence to destroy the lives of their perceived enemies. But their violence spread beyond the gang world into the streets and playgrounds of Brooklyn, and innocent bystanders, including a child, were caught in the crossfire. Terrorizing a community, this gang claimed its turf by force and robbed from businesses and individuals alike leaving a trail of victims in its wake,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We are steadfast in our commitment to dismantling street gangs that put at risk the members of our community, and the seriousness of today’s charges reflect that commitment.”

“The reason the FBI places such a high priority on gang investigations is the extreme violence gangs so often commit. Here, as charged in the indictment, the defendants’ ruthlessness was matched by their recklessness. They allegedly showed no apparent concern for bystanders, and bystanders were seriously hurt as a consequence,” said Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “Through a variety of partnerships, including clergy, the Brooklyn District Attorney, and in this case United States Attorney Loretta Lynch, the police department is suppressing crime in Brooklyn to the point where last year for the first time since 1963 murder in the Borough fell below 200. As charged in the indictment, members of the Folk Nation have been responsible for multiple murders and shootings, and their apprehension and prosecution should have a continued salutary effect for the residents in and around the Ebbets Field Houses.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Zainab Ahmad and Seth DuCharme.

The Defendants:

YASSA ASHBURN, also known as “Indio,” “Swirls,” and “Swerve”
Age: 28

HAILE CUMMINGS, also known as “Ruger” and “Rugah”
Age: 20

GERALDO ELAINOR, also known as “Gunny” and “Geraldo Casimir”
Age: 21

DANIEL HARRISON, also known as “Bones,”
Age: 24

RICKY HOLLENQUEST, also known as “Dancer”
Age: 20

JAMAL LAURENT, also known as “Tails” and “Gunner”
Age: 22

TREVELLE MERRITT, also known as “Tiger”
Age: 19

[1] The charges contained in the superseding indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Five Alleged Members of the Bonanno Crime Family Arrested for Racketeering and Related Charges

January 30, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 27, 2012 released the following:

Defendants Include One Current and Two Former Members of the Bonanno Crime Family Administration

A 14-count superseding indictment was unsealed this morning in Brooklyn federal court charging five members of the Bonanno organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Bonanno family”) variously with racketeering, extortion, illegal gambling, and conspiring to distribute marijuana. An associate of the Gambino organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Gambino family”) was also charged with loansharking.[1] The defendants were arrested earlier today in New York and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The case has been assigned to United States Chief District Court Judge Carol B. Amon.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Wilbert L. Plummer, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Division; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

As alleged in the indictment and a detention memorandum filed by the government today, defendant Vincent Badalamenti, also known as “Vinny TV,” is a made member of the Bonanno family and a current member of the family’s administration, who until his arrest, was the highest ranking member of the Bonanno family at liberty. Defendants Anthony Graziano, also known as “TG,” and Nicholas Santora, also known as “Nicky Mouth,” are captains in the Bonanno family and former members of the Bonanno family administration. Defendant Vito Balsamo is an acting captain in the Bonanno family, and defendant Anthony Calabrese is a soldier in the Bonanno family. The indictment is the result of a multi-year joint investigation by the DEA and FBI that utilized a variety of techniques to gather evidence, such as consensual recordings of the defendants discussing their charged crimes, cooperating witnesses who were formerly members and associates of organized crime, and surveillance. The evidence revealed a pattern of violence and intimidation employed by the defendants to further their enterprise’s economic interests, including Badalamenti allegedly directing the hostile takeover of a bar located on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, as a result of its owner’s failure to repay a debt owed to Badalamenti.

The charges in the indictment also demonstrate the recidivist nature of organized crime defendants. For example, as detailed in the government’s detention memorandum, Santora allegedly participated in his charged crimes following his prior conviction and incarceration, and while released on supervised release, and Graziano allegedly committed his charged crimes within weeks of being released to a federal halfway house. During one consensual recording, a cooperating witness (“CW”) told Graziano that during Graziano’s most recent prison term, the CW was sent to collect money from one of Graziano’s loanshark victims who “was crying hysterical.” The CW and Graziano also discussed how the CW was sent on multiple occasions to collect money from the same victim by a member of the Bonanno family’s ruling panel, to which Graziano responded, “Yeah, well, he was trying to collect my money.” On another occasion, Graziano allegedly directed the CW to meet a second extortion victim and “open him up.”

The charges and arrests announced today are the latest in an ongoing investigation that has resulted in the prosecution of more than 175 members and associates of the Bonanno family in the Eastern District of New York. Since March 2002, more than 10 Bonanno family bosses, acting bosses and administration members have been convicted in this district on racketeering and racketeering-related charges.

“Members of organized crime continue to exploit their victims the old-fashioned way—through violence, threats, and intimidation. Learning nothing from their incarceration, two of the defendants allegedly sought to regain their money and influence on the street while still under federal supervision. But because they learned nothing, they find themselves back in custody again, along with their co-defendants,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “As law enforcement has so successfully done before, we will employ our own time-tested techniques to bring them to justice to account for their crimes. We will not rest in this pursuit until the Bonanno crime family and La Cosa Nostra have been completely dismantled.”

DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Plummer stated, “These arrests prove that justice comes to those who have abused the system. The five defendants arrested with RICO charges will face the consequences of their alleged illegal actions in the court of law. The New York Drug Enforcement Task Force worked diligently with the United States Attorney’s Office in order to keep our city and state crime free.” Mr. Plummer thanked the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force which comprises agents and officers of the DEA, New York State Police and the New York City Police Department for their hard work on this investigation.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk stated, “Today’s charges confirm that La Cosa Nostra families continue to engage in the bedrock money-making activities like extortion and loansharking, and are not shy about resorting to violence as a method. As long as mobsters continue their predatory ways, the FBI will continue to target the mob.”

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “This case demonstrates that the FBI, DEA, and NYPD in partnership with federal prosecutors, are relentless and will continue to dismantle organized crime and protect the public from its insidious effects.”

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole M. Argentieri and Stephen E. Frank.

The Defendants:

VINCENT BADALAMENTI Age: 53

VITO BALSAMO Age: 55

ANTHONY CALABRESE Age: 44

ANTHONY GRAZIANO Age: 71

JAMES LAFORTE Age: 35

NICHOLAS SANTORA Age: 69

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 20 Individuals for Allegedly Participating in a Scheme to Recruit Illegal Immigrants to Work in Adult Entertainment Clubs Controlled by La Cosa Nostra

December 1, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on November 30, 2011 released the following:

Defendants Charged with Racketeering, Extortion, Visa Fraud, Immigration, and Marriage Fraud Crimes; Seven Defendants Are Alleged Members or Associates of the Gambino and Bonanno Crime Families

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James T. Hayes, Jr., the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and Robert Goodrich, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (“DSS”), announced charges today against 20 individuals for their participation in a scheme that involved recruiting women from Russia and other Eastern European countries to illegally enter the U.S. to work as exotic dancers at adult entertainment clubs (“Strip Clubs”) controlled by the Gambino and Bonnano Organized Crime Families of La Cosa Nostra. Several of the defendants also arranged for many of the women to enter into sham marriages with U.S. citizens. Defendants ALPHONSE TRUCCHIO, WILLIAM PAZIENZA, SR., CHRISTOPHER COLON, and RICHARD GUTKOWSKI, who are members or associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family, and ANTHONY FRASCONE, PAUL CASELLA, and LAWRENCE ZAINO, who are members or associates of the Bonnano Organized Crime Family, are charged with racketeering and extortion crimes related to their control of several Strip Clubs located in Queens and Long Island, New York, at which the women worked. These seven defendants and 13 others—ALEKSANDR KRAVETS, THOMAS DEVITT III, GERALD MONFORT, YONG WANG, BORIS YUSUPOV, VITALIY MINDYUK, ZHANNA KUZNETSOVA, ELENA TURUBANOVA, NATALIA IVANOVA, CHRISTINE GUNNING, JEFFREY RINCHEY, OSCAR ZELEDON, and ALEXANDER BELESON—are also charged with several other crimes related to the scheme, including visa fraud, marriage fraud, and transporting, harboring, and inducing the entry of illegal aliens. All of the defendants were arrested today and will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein in Manhattan federal court this afternoon. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “As alleged, the schemes in which these defendants participated ran the gamut of criminal activity—from racketeering and extortion, to immigration and marriage fraud. And the defendants themselves had one thing in common—the desire to turn the women they allegedly helped enter this country illegally into their personal profit centers. Today’s arrests have brought an end to their illicit activities.”

ICE HSI Special Agent in Charge James T. Hayes, Jr., stated: “Today’s arrests bring to an end a long-standing criminal enterprise operated by colluding organized crime entities that profited wildly through a combination of extortion and fraud. As alleged, the defendants controlled their business and protected their turf through intimidation and threats of physical and economic harm. Today, that business model has been extinguished.”

DSS Special Agent in Charge Robert Goodrich stated: “The Diplomatic Security Service is firmly committed to working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners at the Homeland Security Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, to investigate and bring to justice those who commit passport and visa fraud, which oftentimes leads to other criminal activities. This case demonstrates Diplomatic Security’s continuing commitment to safeguard the integrity of the U.S. passport and U.S. visa by vigorously investigating and bringing those who commit passport or visa fraud to justice.”

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today:

All seven of the defendants with ties to the Gambino and Bonanno Organized Crime Families are charged with racketeering offenses. The other charges contained in the Indictment are outlined below:

Strip Club Extortions
(TRUCCHIO, PAZIENZA, COLON, GUTKOWSKI, FRASCONE, CASELLA, and ZAINO)

The named defendants are charged with extorting payments from the owners and operators of four Strip Clubs located in Queens and Long Island in exchange for “protection” from competing Strip Clubs and other organized crime figures. The protection included the resolution of disputes among Strip Clubs over the apportionment of illegal aliens from Russia and Eastern Europe to work at the clubs, and disputes over ownership interests in certain clubs.

Visa Fraud Conspiracy
(TRUCCHIO, PAZIENZA, GUTKOWSKI, CASELLA, ZAINO, KRAVETS, DEVITT, MONFORT, WANG, YUSUPOV, MINDYUK, KUZNETSOVA, TURUBANOVA, RINCHEY, ZELEDON, and BELESON)

The named defendants are charged with participating in a scheme that recruited Russian and other Eastern European women and assisted them in fraudulently obtaining summer work and travel visas. The defendants procured and sent these women false job offers for waitressing and other positions they would then include on their visa applications. However, once the women arrived in the U.S., they worked as exotic dancers at the Strip Clubs, in violation of visa rules prohibiting employment in the adult entertainment industry.

Conspiracy to Transport, Harbor, and Induce Entry of Illegal Aliens
(TRUCCHIO, PAZIENZA, COLON, GUTKOWSKI, CASELLA, ZAINO, KRAVETS, DEVITT, MONFORT, WANG, YUSUPOV, MINDYUK, KUZNETSOVA, TURUBANOVA, IVANOVA, GUNNING, RINCHEY, ZELEDON, and BELESON)

The named defendants are alleged to have participated in a scheme to recruit women from Russia and other Eastern European countries through the Internet and newspapers to work as exotic dancers, and to fraudulently obtain visas so that the women could travel to the U.S. The scheme also involved housing these women at various residences and transporting them to and from the Strip Clubs.

Marriage Fraud Conspiracy
(KRAVETS, KUZNETSOVA, TURUBANOVA, IVANOVA, and GUNNING)

The named defendants are charged with operating a scheme in which many of the Russian and other Eastern European women recruited to work as exotic dancers were coupled with U.S. citizens to enter into fraudulent marriages intended solely to give the women legal status in the U.S.

***

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of ICE HSI and DSS. He also thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance and noted that the investigation is continuing.

Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel Chung, Jonathan Cohen, and Michael Ferrara are in charge of the prosecution. The case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. v. Trucchio, et al.

Count Charge Defendants Maximum Penalties
1 Racketeering Conspiracy TRUCCHIO, PAZIENZA, COLON, GUTKOWSKI, FRASCONE, CASELLA, ZAINO 20 years in prison
2 Racketeering TRUCCHIO, PAZIENZA, COLON, GUTKOWSKI, FRASCONE, CASELLA, ZAINO 20 years in prison
3 Extortion Conspiracy FRASCONE, CASELLA, ZAINO 20 years in prison
4 Extortion Conspiracy TRUCCHIO, PAZIENZA, COLON, FRASCONE, CASELLA, ZAINO 20 years in prison
5 Extortion Conspiracy TRUCCHIO, PAZIENZA, COLON, GUTKOWSKI, FRASCONE, CASELLA, ZAINO 20 years in prison
6 Visa Fraud Conspiracy TRUCCHIO, PAZIENZA, GUTKOWSKI, CASELLA, ZAINO, KRAVETS, DEVITT, MONFORT, WANG, YUSUPOV, MINDYUK, KUZNETSOVA, TURUBANOVA, RINCHEY, ZELEDON, BELESON Five years in prison
7 Conspiracy to Transport, Harbor, and Induce the Entry of Illegal Aliens TRUCCHIO, PAZIENZA, COLON, GUTKOWSKI, CASELLA, ZAINO, KRAVETS, DEVITT, MONFORT, WANG, YUSUPOV, MINDYUK, KUZNETSOVA, TURUBANOVA, IVANOVA, GUNNING, RINCHEY, ZELEDON, BELESON 10 years in prison
8 Marriage Fraud Conspiracy KRAVETS, KUZNETSOVA, TURUBANOVA, IVANOVA, GUNNING Five years in prison
Defendant Residence Age
ALPHONSE TRUCCHIO Howard Beach, NY 34
WILLIAM PAZIENZA, SR. Bronxville, NY 64
CHRISTOPHER COLON Howard Beach, NY 37
RICHARD GUTKOWSKI Ridgewood, NY 40
ANTHONY FRASCONE East Meadow, NY 62
PAUL CASELLA Franklin Square, NY 45
LAWRENCE ZAINO Westbury, NY 44
ALEKSANDR KRAVETS Brooklyn, NY 42
THOMAS DEVITT III East Meadow, NY 43
GERALD MONFORT West Babylon, NY 54
YONG WANG Flushing, NY 36
BORIS YUSUPOV Brooklyn, NY 36
VITALIY MINDYUK Brooklyn, NY 43
ZHANNA KUZNETSOVA Brooklyn, NY 24
ELENA TURUBANOVA Dix Hills, NY 24
NATALIA IVANOVA Kew Gardens, NY 43
CHRISTINE GUNNING Windsor, NY 46
JEFFREY RINCHEY Kew Gardens, NY 38
OSCAR ZELEDON East Hampton, NY 39
ALEXANDR BELESON Manalapan, NJ 53

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s

Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Prosecutors: Blagojevich should get 15 to 20 years

November 30, 2011
former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich
“In this June 27, 2011 file photo, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich speaks to the media at the federal courthouse in Chicago. Federal prosecutors said Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, Blagojevich should be sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison. Blagojevich’s attorneys are expected to respond with their own recommendation later Wednesday. His sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin Dec. 6. Blagojevich was convicted of 18 corruption-related counts. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)”

The Associated Press (AP) on November 30, 2011 released the following:

“By NOMAAN MERCHANT
Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich deserves a sentence of 15 to 20 years in prison for his convictions on corruption charges, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Blagojevich, who was convicted of 18 corruption-related counts including that he tried to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama, should receive more time than his predecessor, former Gov. George Ryan, and a key former fundraiser, Tony Rezko.

Ryan is serving 6 1/2 years on racketeering and fraud charges. Rezko was sentenced last week to 10 1/2 years, minus time served, on convictions for fraud, money laundering and plotting to squeeze more than $7 million in kickbacks from companies seeking state business.

Blagojevich, who is to be sentenced next week, had campaigned as a reformer following Ryan and “was acutely aware of the damage” Ryan had caused, prosecutors said. And Blagojevich was an elected official, unlike Rezko, who also offered limited cooperation to the government, they said.

“As the chief executive of the state, Blagojevich was in a special position of responsibility to the public,” prosecutors said. “His abuse of office is particularly grave given the faith put in him by the citizens of Illinois.”

Blagojevich, 54, was convicted at two trials of 18 counts, including lying to the FBI. His attorneys are expected to make their own sentencing recommendation later Wednesday, ahead of Blagojevich’s sentencing by U.S. District Judge James Zagel on Dec. 6.

Prosecutors appeared to preemptively attack any argument that Blagojevich deserves leniency. They said he should not be seen as a family man and governor who helped the state, but as a common criminal. The former governor “appears to be committed to his wife and daughters,” prosecutors said, noting that defendants in other cases also often have families that suffer when they go to prison. And any good work he did as governor shouldn’t mitigate the charges against him, prosecutors argued.

“Many criminals are productive members of society, holding down jobs that they ably accomplish when they are not otherwise engaged in criminal activity,” they said.

Prosecutors also enclosed a packet of news releases and articles about other convicted public officials who were sent to prison for 15 years or more.”

Government’s Sentencing Memorandum

Government’s Sentencing Memorandum – Exhibit A

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


35 Alleged Members and Associates of SSB Bloods Gang Indicted on Federal Racketeering, Drug, and Gun Charges

October 14, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 13, 2011 released the following:

Coordinated RICO Investigation by Federal and State Authorities Targets Organized Gang Allegedly Wreaking Havoc from Western Maryland to the Lower Eastern Shore

BALTIMORE— A federal grand jury has indicted 35 defendants for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise known as the South Side Brims Bloods gang (SSB Bloods), conspiracy to distribute drugs and gun violations. The indictment was returned under seal on September 21, 2011, and unsealed today upon the arrests of nine defendants to date. Detainers have been filed against 11 defendants who are in custody on other charges. The other 12 defendants have been issued summonses to appear in federal court. The indictment alleges that from 2005 to the present, the SSB Bloods have operated from Western Maryland to the lower Eastern Shore, committing violent criminal acts including murders, shootings, home invasion robberies, drug trafficking and witness intimidation. This indictment was the culmination of a long-term joint investigation by federal, state, and local authorities throughout Maryland.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Secretary Gary Maynard of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; Special Agent in Charge Mark Chait of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – Baltimore Field Division; Frederick County Sheriff Charles A. “Chuck” Jenkins; Colonel Kim C. Dine, Chief of the Frederick Police Department; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Chief William J. McMahon of the Howard County Police Department; Anne Arundel County Police Chief James Teare, Sr.; Annapolis Police Chief Michael A. Pristoop; Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Ocean City Police Department; Chief Michael Phillips of the Fruitland Police Department; Garrett County Sheriff Robert E. Corley; Allegany County Bureau of Police Chief J. Robert Dick; Cumberland Police Chief Charles H. Hinnant; Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore; Dorchester County Sheriff James W. Phillips; Queen Anne’s County Sheriff R. Gary Hofmann III; Wicomico County Sheriff Michael A. Lewis; Worcester County Sheriff Reggie T. Mason, Sr.; Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan; Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matthew Maciarello; Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; Washington County State’s Attorney Charles P. Strong, Jr.; Garrett County State’s Attorney Lisa Thayer Welch; Allegany County State’s Attorney Michael O. Twigg; and Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Lance G. Richardson.

“This case reflects an unprecedented level of coordination among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies employing the federal RICO statute to dismantle criminal gangs,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “The covert investigation known as ‘Cardinal Sin’ started in 2009, based on allegations that the South Side Brims Bloods gang was establishing cells and wreaking havoc throughout Maryland. When criminals join together and threaten public safety, law enforcement agencies must work together to put them out of business. You cannot stop a group of criminals by pursuing individual members for isolated crimes.”

More than 100 law enforcement officers deployed this morning to arrest defendants charged in the indictment, which alleges that SSB Bloods gang members belong to a nationwide racketeering enterprise. Last March, hundreds of law enforcement officers assisted in the execution of 42 search warrants relating to the investigation at various locations throughout Maryland. The 71 page indictment and 135 page search warrant affidavit have been unsealed.

The affidavit alleges that in December 2009, Frederick Police discovered a roster of members both at large and incarcerated. Versions of the roster later were found in other locations, along with gang handbook. During the federal investigation, gang members allegedly were recorded on wiretaps discussing the gang’s hierarchy and rules, letters discussing gang business were intercepted, and Internet pages containing gang messages, photographs, and videos were found. Authorities also developed confidential informants who provided details about the gang’s criminal activities.

The 26-count indictment alleges that the defendants were members and associates of the SSB Bloods, a violent gang with members operating throughout Maryland, including the cities of Frederick, Cumberland, Salisbury, and Baltimore; and Queen Anne’s, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, Talbot, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties. The indictment alleges that SSB gang members also operated in and around New York City, New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina, and California.

The SSB Bloods originated from a street gang known as “the Bloods” that was formed in Los Angeles, California in the early 1970s. As time passed, the Bloods spread to other locations and broke into individual “sets.” One such Bloods set based in Compton, California was called Piru Bloods, which emerged into a subset known as the “Fruit Town Brims.” The name derived from a group of streets in Compton named after fruit trees. The Fruit Town Brims became established on the East Coast, including Maryland.

The indictment alleges that Andre Roach was granted permission to start the South Side Brims on June 17, 2005, and that Roach sent letters through Monique Hagler, alleged to be the “first lady,” or secretary, for the set. According to the indictment, Hagler also sent communications to gang members demanding payment of dues used to support member of the SSB enterprise and their activities, including criminal defense lawyers, firearms, bail, and to assist gang members recently released from prison to help them get on their feet. The indictment sets out in detail numerous acts taken by the defendants in furtherance of their racketeering scheme, including the distribution of powder and crack cocaine, ecstasy, and other drugs, robberies, and home invasion robberies and the use of guns in furtherance of these crimes.

The indictment alleges that the SSB initiation process involved being “jumped in” through a beating by other gang members. SSB members were required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and advance in the gang leadership. Specific acts of violence alleged in the indictment include a murder, several attempted murders, home invasion robberies, witness intimidation, violence against gang members who violated gang rules and other alleged acts of violence.

The following defendants are charged in the indictment:

  • Andre Ricardo Roach, age 34;
  • Monique Marie Hagler; age 27, of Suitland, Md;
  • Theodore Clifton Matthews, age 29, of Baltimore;
  • Richard Demoan Hall, Jr., age 27, of Cumberland;
  • Matthew Owen Colllins, age 27, of Cumberland;
  • Brandon Isiah Fossett, age 27, of Frederick;
  • Durell Jarric Clayter, age 26, of Frederick;
  • Altonia Manley, III, age 22, of Frederick;
  • Marcel Anthony Williams, age 20, of Frederick;
  • Dominic Antonio Grey, age 27, of Frederick;
  • Jimarr Tyrell King, age 23, of Frederick, Md;
  • Derell Len Prue, age 20, of Frederick;
  • Gerald Lee Dorsey, Jr., age 24, Frederick;
  • Kennea Keith Diggs, Jr., age 32, Frederick;
  • Paul Travis Cox, age 20, of Frederick;
  • Van Johnson Weedon, age 19, of Frederick;
  • Morris Jermaine Goodwin, age 19, of Frederick;
  • Courtney Alan Gates, age 28, of Frederick;
  • Fitzgerald Donald Reid, age 21, of Frederick;
  • Kylynn Charmonix Williams, age 19, of Frederick;
  • Richard Lee Thompson, age 22, of Frederick;
  • William Michael Black, age 22, of Stevensville, Md;
  • Dontell Lamont Guy, age 24;
  • Yancy Lamont White, age 23, of Salisbury, Md;
  • Antonio Jovan Dennis, age 29, of Stevensville;
  • Kyle Alexander Carey, age 20, of Salisbury;
  • Justin Rashaad Harris, age 19, of Eden, Md;
  • Antonio Javier Landers, age 24, of Howard County;
  • Aurelio Manuel Barahona, age 24, of Howard County;
  • Donnell Antonio Lewis, age 30, of Annapolis, Md
  • Donnell Moses Stewart, age 24, of Severn, Md;
  • Renard Mitchell, age 25, of Baltimore;
  • Darryl Rashad Smith, age 29, of Howard County;
  • Joseph Aaron Artis, age 22, of Howard County;
  • Alex Antonio Mendoza, age 23, of Howard County.

Each of the 31 defendants charged in count two with the drug trafficking conspiracy faces a maximum sentence of life in prison; and each of the 27 defendants charged in count one with the RICO conspiracy faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Matthews, Hall, Collins, Fossett, Manley, Marcel Williams, King, Diggs, Cox, Weedon, Guy, Carey, and Harris also face from five to 25 years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, for each count of possessing, using and/or carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or crime of violence. Dennis and Fossett face an additional five years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rosenstein commended the more than 100 federal and state law enforcement officers who worked together to execute the arrest warrants today. Mr. Rosenstein praised the FBI; Maryland State Police; ATF; Delaware State Police; Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Cumberland, Frederick, Howard County, Prince George’s County, Salisbury, Fruitland, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, and Ocean City Police Departments; Allegany County Bureau of Police; Allegany County Criminal Investigations; the Frederick, Washington, Queen Anne’s, Dorchester, Wicomico, and Worcester County Sheriffs Offices; and the State’s Attorney’s Offices of Baltimore City, Frederick, Wicomico, Washington, Allegany, Garrett, and Queen Anne’s Counties for their investigation of this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case. Mr. Rosenstein also recognized the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the Drug Enforcement Administration for their assistance in the investigation.

Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea Smith and A. David Copperthite, who are prosecuting this case.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Several remain at large in Ark. corruption probe

October 12, 2011

The Associated Press (AP) on October 12, 2011 released the following:

“By NOMAAN MERCHANT, Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Federal officials continued their search Wednesday for several people who remained at large following a widespread crackdown on corruption that culminated in the arrests of dozens of others this week in eastern Arkansas.

FBI spokesman Steve Frazier said the bureau and other law enforcement agencies were still hunting for the last of the 70 people indicted on racketeering, money laundering and drug charges as part of the four-year investigation known as “Operation Delta Blues.” Five law enforcement officers were among those indicted.

Fifty-one people were arrested Tuesday, and another five were arrested Wednesday, including some who turned themselves in, Frazier said. Those detained were expected to appear Thursday morning in federal court.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer said in an interview that he expected some defendants to take guilty pleas “relatively quickly.” He declined to say if any of the defendants had agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

“If they want their day in court, we’re willing to give it to them,” Thyer said.

News of the investigation rocked Helena-West Helena, a Mississippi Delta town plagued for years by crime, poverty and allegations of corruption. Some residents awoke Tuesday to the sound of helicopters buzzing overhead.

“I’m thankful,” said Linda Walters, a school bus driver who waited outside a press conference Tuesday afternoon after hearing the news.

She said the constant gunfire outside her home had forced her to look into moving to another city.

“I have to go sleep, hit the floor every time I hear a bullet shot,” she said. “I’m so upset.”

Helena-West Helena Mayor Arnell Willis sat next to reporters during the news conference. Willis had gone to Little Rock a month ago to plead with Thyer for federal help. Thyer didn’t tell Willis about Operation Delta Blues until Tuesday’s arrests, but Willis said he didn’t mind.

“Welcome to the dawning of a new day in the Delta,” he told reporters afterward.

The indictments accused the five officers of taking payments to guard shipments of cocaine and other drugs. Phillips County sheriff’s deputy Winston Dean Jackson is allegedly caught on a federal wiretap talking to another deputy about a payment by a defense lawyer in exchange for “failing to perform law enforcement duties.”

The unidentified deputy said the payment fell under “the good old boy” system and that anyone not involved would “get rolled over.”

Thyer would not comment on any future indictments but said the investigation was still ongoing.

According to the indictment, Jackson responded, “You get rolled over, exactly. Cause nobody say … ain’t nothing but the good old boy system.”

Helena-West Helena police officers Herman Eaton, Robert “Bam Bam” Rogers and Marlene Kalb allegedly escorted drug shipments, each receiving $500 from someone posing as a drug dealer. A Marvell police officer, Robert Wahls, is charged with accepting money from an informant and escorting a drug shipment.

It was not immediately clear if the five officers had attorneys yet. Relatives of the officers could not be reached. The federal public defender’s office in Little Rock did not return requests for comment.

Hundreds of officers from the FBI, Arkansas State Police and other agencies helped make Tuesday’s arrests. An FBI special agent was shot during one arrest, but was not seriously injured and later released from the hospital.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

Bookmark and Share


U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Charges 20 Members and Associates of Newburgh-Based Bloods Gang with Racketeering, Murder, Assault, Robbery, and Narcotics Trafficking

September 14, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 13, 2011 released the following:

Third Coordinated Multi-Agency Law Enforcement Strike in 16 Months Further Weakens Newburgh Gangs

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”); MAJ. EDWARD RASO, Troop “F” Commander for the New York State Police (“NYSP”); MICHAEL FERRARA, the Chief of Police for the City of Newburgh Police Department; FRANK PHILLIPS, the District Attorney for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office; and CARL E. DuBOIS, the Sheriff for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, announced today the unsealing of a 32-count superseding indictment charging 20 members and associates of the Bloods gang in Newburgh, New York, (the “Newburgh Bloods”), including members of a related crack-cocaine dealing conspiracy, with racketeering, narcotics, robbery, and firearms offenses. The superseding indictment charges members and associates of the gang with, among other crimes, two murders; six armed assaults and/or attempted murders; and the use, carrying, and possession of firearms.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA stated: “The elimination of the Bloods, Latin Kings, and other violent gangs is an absolute precondition to the sustainable prosperity and sustainable justice that residents of every American city deserve. Our work is not finished, but our work to date has been significant. We are holding people accountable; we are gutting the gangs that once roamed free; and we are bringing back the rule of law in Newburgh. Wherever you live in America, you have a right to live in peace and in safety.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge JANICE K. FEDARCYK stated: “The FBI’s Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force made a commitment several years ago to address the problem of gang violence in Newburgh. Today’s charges and arrests are a significant step, but in no way do they mark the end of our commitment. They should be taken as a sign of our continuing commitment to the law-abiding people of Newburgh.”

New York State Police Troop “F” Commander MAJ. EDWARD RASO stated: “This operation is another example of the outstanding work being conducted by the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force. It is law enforcement at its finest; working as a team to take violent criminals off our streets.”

City of Newburgh Police Chief MICHAEL FERRARA stated: “I want to thank the supporting law enforcement agencies for their tremendous assistance in this comprehensive, criminal investigation, led by the United States Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. These arrests have focused on the street violence that is associated with the narcotics trafficking that stifles every day life and is a major driving force in the abnormal crime rate of the City of Newburgh. Unless gang related criminal activity is confronted with a relentless, persistent and effective enforcement such as this, a heightened crime rate in every category will continue in Newburgh. Because the City of Newburgh Police Department’s sworn officer count was stretched very thin in 2011, this investigation and its resulting charges are imperative to the public safety of the neighborhoods in the City of Newburgh.”

Orange County District Attorney’s FRANK PHILLIPS stated: “I want to thank the U.S. Attorney for his continued commitment to fighting crime in Orange County. Today’s arrests and indictments have solved at least two more homicides. These cases could not be prosecuted under New York law. I also want to thank the many members of local, state, and federal law enforcement for their work in making our community a safer place.”

Orange County Sheriff CARL E. DuBOIS stated: “This office remains committed to partnering with the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, with an emphasis on the Sheriff’s Office Gang Intelligence Unit, which is one of the largest repositories of gang intelligence files in the region. Compiling and sharing this information with other law enforcement agencies, especially the FBI, is a critical component in past, present, and future enforcement efforts.”

According to the original and superseding indictments filed in Manhattan federal court:

The original indictment, United States v. Anthony Boykin, et al., 10 Cr. 391 (CM), unsealed on May 13, 2010, charged 60 defendants with drug distribution offenses, many of whom were part of the Newburgh Bloods. The superseding indictment includes charges against 20 individuals–-11 new defendants and nine defendants from the original indictment. All of these defendants were either members of the Newburgh Bloods or associated with the gang through their participation in a crack cocaine trafficking conspiracy. The superseding indictment is the latest result of a long-term investigation, dubbed “Operation Blood Drive,” conducted by federal and local law enforcement officers working with the United States Attorney’s Office. The operation used confidential informants, undercover officers, and surreptitious surveillance to infiltrate the Newburgh Bloods’ violent and drug trafficking activities in Newburgh, New York.

The Superseding Indictment

Specifically, at all times relevant to the indictment, a criminal organization known as the “Bloods” was operating in Newburgh, New York. The Bloods is a nationwide criminal organization that is organized into sub-groups known as “sets.” Among the sets operating in Newburgh, New York, were the “Bounty Hunter Bloods,” “G-Shine,” “5-9 Brim,” “Stone,” and the “9 Trey Bloods.” Members often further identified themselves by the street on which they grew up or lived. Although members of the Newburgh Bloods belonged to different sets, these individuals and sets often coordinated, collaborated, and worked together and with each other as a single organization.

Within sets of the Newburgh Bloods, certain individuals had “rank,” which meant that they were among the leaders of their sets. For example, ANTHONY BOYKIN had rank in the Bounty Hunter Bloods set. Any member of the Newburgh Bloods with rank had certain authority over any other member of the gang, irrespective of set. For example, Newburgh Bloods with rank could call meetings of all the Newburgh Bloods for which attendance was mandatory. At these meetings, members discussed, among other things, their criminal activities. Members of the Newburgh Bloods with rank could also direct punishments against other members or against non-members. Some of these punishments required individuals to be assaulted or killed.

The superseding indictment charges that the Newburgh Bloods Gang was a racketeering enterprise, pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act, the purposes of which included the distribution and sale of crack cocaine, and preserving and protecting the power, territory, and profits of the Newburgh Bloods through murder, attempted murder, other acts of violence, and threats of violence. Fifteen defendants are charged with participating in the racketeering enterprise. The Indictment alleges that members of the Newburgh Bloods committed and attempted to commit violent acts in aid of the enterprise, including:

• ANTHONY BOYKIN, CHARLES BYRD, and MAURICE HAGAN are charged with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder of a victim in the vicinity of 25 Lutheran Street in Newburgh, New York, on August 24, 2008.

• ANTHONY BOYKIN, CHARLES CORBIN, TAYLOR FIELDS, MAURICE HAGAN, ROBERT HERRING, and RAHSAAN MELVIN are charged with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder of a second victim in the vicinity of 191 Chambers Street in Newburgh, New York, on September 20, 2008.

• MARCO BOYKIN, CHARLES BYRD, CHARLES CORBIN, ROBERT HERRING, and DAVID JACKLYN are charged with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder of a third victim in the vicinity of 52 Benkard Avenue in Newburgh, New York, on October 5, 2008.

• JOHN NELSON and DANIELLE WILLIAMS are charged with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder of a fourth victim in Newburgh, New York, York, on January 31, 2009.

• ANTHONY BOYKIN, MARCO BOYKIN, and ANTWAN ROBINSON are charged with conspiracy to murder and murder of Lamont Young in the vicinity of Lander Street and First Street in Newburgh, New York, on March 4, 2009.

• ANTHONY BOYKIN, MARCO BOYKIN, JOHN CANADAY, CHARLES CORBIN, TAYLOR FIELDS, MAURICE HAGAN, ROBERT HERRING, JOSEPH McLEAN, and JUSTIN SIMMONS are charged with conspiracy to murder and murder of Tyrik Legette in the vicinity of 156 Lander Street in Newburgh, New York, on April 30, 2009.

• JOHN CANADAY, TAYLOR FIELDS, and ANTWAN ROBINSON are charged with conspiracy to rob and robbery of a suspected narcotics dealer in the vicinity of Chambers Street and First Street, Newburgh, New York, on June 2, 2009.

• JUSTIN SIMMONS is charged with committing an assault in aid of racketeering by shooting a victim in the vicinity of 146 Lander Street in Newburgh, New York, on July 17, 2009.

• JOSEPH McLEAN and RAHSAAN MELVIN are charged with committing an assault in aid of racketeering by shooting a victim in the vicinity of Lander Street between Farrington and South Streets in Newburgh, New York, on March 10, 2010.

All 20 defendants are also charged with conspiring to distribute narcotics, and 17 are charged with using, carrying, and possessing firearms during and in relation to the narcotics conspiracy.

The Newburgh Bloods operated drug markets at certain locations in Newburgh, from which they distributed cocaine base, commonly known as “crack,” among other drugs. In particular, the gang controlled drug markets in the vicinity of the following locations, among others, in Newburgh: South Miller Street, Lander Street (a portion of which is known as “Blood Alley”), Farrington Street, Lutheran Street, and Van Ness Street. All of these locations were within approximately ten blocks of one another. During and in relation to the drug distribution conspiracy, members of the Newburgh Bloods used, carried, and possessed firearms.

* * *

In a coordinated strike earlier today, officers and agents from the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force arrested 12 defendants. Eight additional defendants were previously arrested. The defendants who were taken into custody today are expected to be presented in Manhattan federal court later this afternoon. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge COLLEEN McMAHON.

Mr. BHARARA praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, the New York State Police, Newburgh Police Department, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. He also thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Police Department for the Town of Newburgh, and the Port Jervis Police Department for their assistance with this case. Mr. BHARARA added that the investigation is continuing.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent Crimes Unit Assistant United States Attorneys MICHAEL D. MAIMIN, AMIE N. ELY, and HARRIS FISCHMAN are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

Bookmark and Share


Texas Syndicate Gang Members and Associates Sentenced to Prison

August 31, 2011

U.S. Attorneys Office Southern District of Texas on August 30, 2011 released the following:

“McALLEN, Texas – Six Texas Syndicate members and associates have been sentenced to prison for racketeering, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, kidnapping and possession with intent distribute cocaine, United States Attorney Jose Angel Moreno announced today.

At a hearing on Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa sentenced the chairman of the Texas Syndicate in the Rio Grande Valley, Jose Ismael Salas, 40 of Edinburg, Texas, to 20 years in federal prison without parole for drug trafficking offenses in violation of the racketeering statute. Salas pleaded guilty on April 2, 2009, admitting to committing two acts of racketeering, namely two separate acts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance – six kilograms of cocaine on Aug. 12, 2004, and 39 kilograms of marijuana on March 28, 2003, intending to further the goals of the gang.

Five other members or associates of the gang were also sentenced yesterday by Judge Hinojosa including Fidel Valle, 45 of Donna, Texas – the source of drug supply to the gang who employed gang members to assist in his drug distribution business. He received 126 months imprisonment for possession with intent to distribute six kilograms of cocaine. On July 28, 2009,Valle pleaded guilty to the federal felony drug charge acknowledging that on Aug. 12, 2004, upon being contacted by Salas, Valle agreed to sell approximately six kilograms (approximately 13 pounds) of cocaine to Salas’s associates. That drug load was found and seized by law enforcement officers during a traffic stop of a Ford pickup seen leaving Valle’s residence in Donna on Aug. 12, 2004.

Romeo Rosales, 41 of Raymondville, Texas – an admitted Texas Syndicate gang member who was convicted of kidnapping Amancio Pinales-Garcia – was sentenced to 151 months imprisonment. Reyes, son-in-law of the kidnapping victim, sought a monetary reward to turn over Pinales-Garcia to unknown subjects in Mexico. Pinales-Garcia was shot several times in the low torso during the struggle and subsequently died in Mexico. Rosales pleaded guilty to kidnapping Pinales-Garcia on March 3, 2009.

Noel De Los Santos, 33, of Donna, Texas was sentenced to 240 months imprisonment for violent crimes in aid of racketeering, that is, for the murder of Crisantos Moran on March 20, 2003. According to trial testimony, Moran had been ordered by the Texas Syndicate to kill a rival gang member who lived near Penitas, Texas. De Los Santos and Jose Armando Garcia, both Texas Syndicate gang members, agreed to accompany Moran to commit the murder. However, Moran failed to carry out the order as given. Instead, De Los Santos and Garcia shot and killed Moran for failing to carry out the order. On Aug. 10, 2010, Garcia was convicted of racketeering and violent crimes in aid of racketeering and was sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 5, 2011.

Cristobal Hernandez, 31, and Arturo Rodriguez, 28, both of Brownsville, Texas, were sentenced to 120 and 240 months imprisonment, respectively, for violent crimes in aid of racketeering arising from the murder of Marcelino Rodriguez in June 2007. After members of the Texas Syndicate obtained a copy of a sealed court document from an employee of a McAllen area law firm which represented Marcelino Rodriguez in a federal case, the murder of Marcelino Rodriguez was approved by the leadership of the Texas Syndicate. Hernandez and Arturo Rodriguez were recruited by Raul Galindo to commit the murder. Galindo shot Marcelino Rodriguez in the back of the head while Arturo Rodriguez set the vehicle on fire with gasoline. On Aug. 10, 2010, Galindo was convicted of violent crimes in aid of racketeering and tampering with a witness, victim or an informant. On Jan. 5, 2011, Galindo was sentenced to life imprisonment.

All six of the defendants sentenced yesterday are in federal custody and will remain in custody pending transfer to Bureau of Prisons facilities to be designated in the near future.

All 13 charged in this case have been convicted and sentenced to prison. Juan Pablo Hinojosa, who was convicted by a federal jury of racketeering and violent crimes in aid of racketeering, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Jan. 5, 2011. On Jan. 28, 2010, Benjamin Piedra pleaded guilty to violent crimes in aid of racketeering and was sentenced to 120 months confinement and three years of supervised release on Feb. 22, 2011. Adan Roberto Ruiz pleaded guilty to criminal information charging him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana, while Jorge Puga pleaded to a criminal information charging him with possession with intent to distribute 39 kilograms of marijuana. Ruiz and Puga received 52 and 37 months, respectively. Joel Carcano Jr. pleaded guilty providing false statements – admitting he lied to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents when he falsely stated he did not provide a copy of downward departure motion to Texas Syndicate members. This document was used as the basis to order the murder of the government’s informant. On Feb. 22, 2011, Carcano was sentenced to 52 months custody and a three-year-term of supervised release.

The investigation leading to the federal charges and subsequent conviction of these admitted Texas Syndicate gang members was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Wells, Jr. prosecuted the case.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

Bookmark and Share


Eric Brown Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison For Conspiracy to Conduct and Participate in the Activities of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), a Racketeering Enterprise

August 22, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 19, 2011 released the following:

“BGF Leader Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Participating in a Racketeering Conspiracy

BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced, Eric Brown, a/k/a E and EB, age 42, of Baltimore, late yesterday to 12 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for a conspiracy to conduct and participate in the activities of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), a racketeering enterprise. Brown pleaded guilty on April 27.

Another co-defendant, James Harried, a/k/a Smiley, age 48, of Essex, Maryland, pleaded guilty on August 17, 2011, to his participation in the BGF racketeering conspiracy.

The sentence and guilty plea were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration – Washington Field Division; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; and Secretary Gary D. Maynard of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

“The sentence Mr. Brown received today should send a strong message to all individuals who may think about becoming a gang member like Mr. Brown,” stated Ava Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “Mr. Brown’s prior leadership role with the BGF gang will mean nothing as he spends 12 years in federal prison. Mr. Brown will now be reduced in rank as the result of many law enforcement agencies and prosecutors who worked tirelessly in this investigation,” stated Cooper-Davis.

According to their plea agreements, BGF is a nationwide gang operating in prison facilities and major cities throughout the United States. Founded in California in the 1960s and introduced into the Maryland correctional system in the mid 1990s, BGF in Maryland is increasingly active on the streets of Baltimore City, as well as in various prison facilities in Maryland.

BGF conducts its affairs through a pattern of criminal activity, including: narcotics trafficking, robbery; extortion; bribery; retaliation against a witness or informant; money laundering; and commercial robbery. BGF members arrange to have drugs, tobacco, cell phones, food and other contraband smuggled into Maryland prison facilities, sometimes recruiting and paying employees of prison facilities, including corrections officers, to assist BGF and its members in the smuggling of contraband, the collection of intelligence and in the concealment of BGF’s criminal activities. BGF members use violence and threats of violence to coerce incarcerated persons to pay protection money to BGF, to enforce the BGF code of conduct, and to increase their control of the Baltimore City drug trade and the underground “prison economy” in Maryland correctional facilities.

According to his plea agreement, from 2006 through June 2010, Brown, was a leader of BGF, enforcing discipline in the gang and directing and participating in the drug trafficking activities of the gang. Harried sold heroin for his own benefit and for the enrichment of BGF. It was forseeable that as members of the conspiracy, Brown and Harried possessed with intent to distribute between 700 grams and one kilogram of heroin.

Specifically, while Brown was incarcerated, he extorted a fellow inmate for protection from violence at the hands of BGF members and assaulted another inmate who failed to make timely extortion payments to BGF. Brown and co-defendant Ray Olivis transferred some of the proceeds of BGF’s illegal activities, including drug trafficking and extortion, into prepaid debit card accounts. In addition, Brown arranged for contraband to be smuggled into correctional facilities through the use of couriers and corrections employees. Co-defendant Rainbow Williams delivered contraband, including narcotics, to corrections officers to be smuggled into correctional facilities, sometimes paying the officer for smuggling the contraband into prison. Williams even attempted to smuggle contraband into a Maryland correctional facility via a pair of tennis shoes, but he was discovered by corrections officials.

During an intercepted telephone conversation on March 19, 2010, Harried was overheard by law enforcement discussing the collection of dues from fellow BGF members in order to post the bail for an incarcerated member. These dues were paid, at least in part, with the proceeds of BGF drug trafficking. At times during the conspiracy Harried also attended meetings of the high ranking members of BGF, where racketeering activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, commercial robberies and retaliation against rival gang members and BGF member who broke protocol, were discussed. Harried was often consulted during the trials of BGF member accused by other members of breaking BGF protocol.

James Harried faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Judge Quarles has scheduled his sentencing for November 22, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. Harried remains detained.

Ray Olivis, a/k/a Ronnie Hargrove, Uncle Ray, Unc and Ray Ray, age 57; and Rainbow Williams, age 32, both of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Judge Quarles has scheduled sentencing for Rainbow Williams on August 30, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. and Ray Olivis on December 8, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

Mr. Rosenstein praised the DEA; Baltimore City Police Department; Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office; and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for their work in this investigation and prosecution; as well as the Baltimore County Police Department; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington D.C. Field Office, for their assistance.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorneys Antonio Gioia, Miabeth Marosy and Rebecca Cox, for their work in the investigation and prosecution, and Assistant United States Attorneys James T. Wallner and Clinton J. Fuchs, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

Bookmark and Share


Motorcycle Gang Members Face Murder, Drug Charges

July 12, 2011

The Associated Press (AP) on July 12, 2011 released the following:

“By JIM SALTER
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Eighteen members of a motorcycle gang known as the Wheels of Soul face a federal indictment on charges ranging from racketeering to kidnapping to murder, including fatal shootings in three different states.

The indictment handed up June 9 was unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, and all but four of those indicted have been arrested. Police are seeking the remaining suspects. Three others not named in the indictment have been arrested on weapons charges, said Terry Dougherty, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis.

The indictment alleges that a select few members of the gang achieved “1%er,” or “Diamond” status for particularly violent activity.

Some of the accusations are breathtaking; one member allegedly stabbed another person in the head during a fight at a Chicago motorcycle club, then shot another in the stomach. The indictment says gang members are required to carry weapons, mostly guns but also hammers, knives and others.

Federal authorities cite meetings in St. Louis in 2009 in which a Wheels of Soul member, Dominic Henley – known within the gang as “Bishop” – told others in the gang that a member in Gary, Ind., had been threatened. He instructed them to retaliate by robbing the rival gang members of their colors by “any means necessary.”

Gang members raised money through robberies and by distributing drugs, especially crack cocaine, but also heroin, the indictment alleges. They are accused of plotting and carrying out several acts of violence including kidnapping, robbery and murder.

In 2009, gang members allegedly shot and killed a member of the rival Sin City Titans gang in St. Louis. The shooting came weeks after a meeting in which, the indictment says, members were told that the Mother Chapter had declared “open season” on the Sin City Titans.

In January, a member Wheels of Soul allegedly shot and killed a person in Chicago during an altercation with the rival Street Soldiers gang. And in March, a member is accused of shooting three victims in the back as they fled from a party in Marion, Ohio, killing one and seriously wounding another.

In January, six of the accused went to an East St. Louis, Ill., nightclub intending to kill members of the rival Outkast OMG gang, according to the indictment. The plan was foiled because several police officers were seen near the club.

A message seeking comment from U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan was not returned. It wasn’t immediately clear if any of the defendants had attorneys.

Wheels of Soul gang members wear black vests adorned with patches on the back and commonly refer to the gang as “the Nation.” The indictment accuses gang members from St. Louis of planning to extort smaller gangs by requiring them to purchase a “support patch” that demonstrates subservience to the Wheels of Soul.

The indictment alleges that the Wheels of Soul is governed by the “Mother Chapter” in Philadelphia, with regional chapters around the country. Federal agents raided two Wheels of Soul clubhouses in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The indicted are from seven states: Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Wisconsin and Kentucky.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

Bookmark and Share