Leader and Three Members of Violent Jamaican Drug Posse Convicted of Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, Narcotics Trafficking and Firearms Offenses
Following a four-week trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn today returned a verdict convicting Christopher Barret, also known as “the General,” “Mouthy” and “Solo,” the leader of the “Fatherless Crew,” a violent Jamaican “posse,” of running a continuing criminal enterprise that distributed thousands of pounds of marijuana through the U.S. mail and brandishing firearms in furtherance of his narcotics business. Three of Barret’s enforcers, Leon Scarlett, also known as “Piggy” and “Agony,” Omar Mitchell, also known as “Sox,” and Ryan Anderson, also known as “Dre,” were convicted of marijuana trafficking charges. Anderson was also convicted of carrying a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. A fifth defendant, Kareem Forrest, also known as “Dooley,” pled guilty after the first week of trial.
The convictions 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, and Ronald J. Verrochio, Inspector-in-Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, New York Field Office, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.
The “Fatherless Crew” was originally founded in Rema, a garrison community within inner-city Kingston, Jamaica. The crew warred with rival gangs – particularly the “Shower Posse” from neighboring Tivoli Gardens – for territory. After Barret was arrested for shooting an officer of the Jamaican Constabulary Force in Kingston, he posted bail and then promptly fled to the United States. There, Barret established a base in Queens, New York, and began recruiting soldiers from the “Fatherless Crew” in Jamaica to join his drug enterprise. Using threats and violence, Barret and his crew established a stranglehold over drug trafficking in portions of Queens – particularly the area surrounding Barret’s South Ozone Park headquarters and stash house.
Trial testimony established that on March 15, 2010, members of Barret’s crew engaged in a shootout with a rival drug gang following a baby shower in St. Albans, Queens. A dispute over a drug debt escalated into a gun battle in the streets. Detectives from the NYPD recovered more than 30 shell casings and bullets, including one bullet that ricocheted off the door of a neighboring daycare center. One individual was shot in the chest during the gunfight but survived. The government’s evidence at trial also established that Barret attempted to solicit the murder of a former partner in the crew and ordered vicious assaults of customers and workers over lost drugs and money, and that members of the crew plotted to murder potential witnesses and their family members to obstruct the government’s prosecution.
In October 2010, following a year-long investigation, a search and seizure operation at the crew’s headquarters in Queens yielded nearly 300 pounds of marijuana, three loaded handguns and a variety of drug trafficking paraphernalia, including electronic scales, heat sealing machines and a vehicle outfitted with a with a hydraulic trap for concealing firearms. To date, 15 members and associates of the “Fatherless Crew” have been convicted of drug trafficking and firearms offenses as a result of this investigation.
“Barret imported his brand of lawlessness from the hills of Jamaica to the streets of Queens, setting up a crew that lived by a code of violence and total disregard for the law. The defendants’ crew employed wanton violence to enrich themselves putting in mortal danger not only their competitors in the drug trafficking business, but also innocent residents in our community – including children, as well as potential witnesses and their family members. We are committed to utilizing all resources at our disposal to investigate and prosecute organized criminal enterprises who engage in narcotics distribution and street violence, stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will not rest until our mission is accomplished.”
DEA Acting Special-Agent-in-Charge Plummer stated, “As you know, drug trafficking and violence have a symbiotic relationship, and this investigation led us to dismantle this drug trafficking organization here in New York. The NY Drug Enforcement task force worked diligently with our law enforcement partners to keep our streets safe from violent drug crews.” Mr. Plummer would like to thank the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force which is comprised of agents and officers of the DEA, NYPD and the New York State Police for their diligent work throughout this multi-agency investigation.
Postal Inspector-in-Charge Verrochio stated, “Postal Inspectors will vigorously pursue and arrest those individuals who use the mail to transport and distribute illegal substances, putting in danger the lives of innocent residents, Postal employees and law enforcement personnel.”
NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “This case is an example of the relationship between drugs and violent crime, where individuals use illegal guns and battle rivals over a drug trafficking market. I want to commend the detectives, agents, and prosecutors who worked together to bring Christopher Barret aka ‘the General’ and his notorious crew to justice.”
When sentenced by United States District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto, Christopher Barret faces a minimum sentence of 27 years and a maximum sentence of life. Defendant Ryan Anderson faces a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of life. Defendants Leon Scarlett and Omar Mitchell each face minimum sentences of 10 years and maximum sentences of life.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven L. Tiscione, Tyler J. Smith and Gina M. Parlovecchio.