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NEW YORK NEWS

September 09, 2015
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: 212-337-2906

Seventeen Members and Associates of Two Rival Bronx Street Gangs Charged in Federal Court with Racketeering and Narcotics Offenses, Including Two Murders

SEP 09 (NEW YORK) - James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Glenn Sorge, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and William J. Bratton, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), today announced the unsealing of two Indictments charging a total of 17 members and associates of two Bronx-based street gangs, the Taylor Avenue Crew and the Leland Avenue Crew, with various racketeering and narcotics offenses, including two murders of rival gang members.

Twelve of the 17 defendants, James Capers, Tommy Brown, Jesse Irvin, Edwin Moye, Unique Christopher, Dante Rodgers, Irvin Ortiz, Elijah Davila, Ricardo Garcia, Pablo Chevere, Gladys Morales, Kenneth Mercado, and Andrea Bell, were taken into federal custody yesterday or this morning and will be presented before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Frank Maas later today.  Four of the defendants, Marquise Rochester, Christian McKnight, Samuel Serrano, and Messiah Perry, are currently incarcerated in state custody on other charges, and will be presented at a later date.  The case of United States v. Irvin Ortiz, et al, 15 Cr. 608 (KPF) has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla.  The case of United States v. James Capers, et al., 15 Cr. 607 (WHP) has been assigned to U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley, III.
       
DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said: “Drug trafficking inevitably leads to further crime and violence, as depicted in the alleged charges against the members of the Leland Avenue and Taylor Avenue Crews.  Through a common goal, law enforcement pooled resources to investigate and arrest those who converted their Avenues into their own private battlefields.” 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Members of the Taylor Avenue and Leland Avenue Crews allegedly wreaked havoc on the community through the sale of crack cocaine and a wave of violence on the streets of the Bronx.  On two occasions, that violence allegedly ended in the murders of rival gang members.”

HSI Acting Special Agent in Charge Glenn Sorge said: “Today’s arrests deal a serious blow to two gangs that allegedly used the streets of New York City to sell drugs and commit acts of violence including murder.  HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to rid the streets of these dangerous criminal organizations that instill fear in our communities.”

       
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said: “These indictments and arrests are the result of the collaborative power of law enforcement to address narcotics sales and street level shootings, crimes which are often committed by just a few individuals but affect a great many more.  I would like to thank the NYPD investigators and our federal law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly to protect this Bronx community and bring justice to those responsible for this scourge of drugs, death and violence.”

As alleged in the Indictments unsealed today in Manhattan federal court As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictments, and the description of the Indictments set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation. :

United States v. Irvin Ortiz, et al., 15 Cr. 608 (KPF)

The Taylor Avenue Crew was a criminal enterprise that operated principally in and around the Bronx, New York, from at least 2012 up to and including 2015.  One of the Taylor Avenue Crew’s principal objectives was to sell cocaine base, commonly known as “crack cocaine,” primarily in and around Taylor Avenue in the Bronx.  The Taylor Avenue Crew controlled crack cocaine sales within this area by prohibiting and preventing non-members, outsiders, and rival narcotics dealers from distributing crack cocaine in the area controlled by the enterprise.

Members and associates of the Taylor Avenue Crew engaged in acts of violence against the Leland Avenue Crew, a rival gang that sold crack cocaine primarily in and around Leland Avenue, which runs parallel to Taylor Avenue and is located two blocks east.  These acts of violence included assaults, attempted murder, and murder, and were committed to protect the Taylor Avenue Crew’s drug territory, to retaliate against members of rival gangs who had encroached on the territory controlled by the Taylor Avenue Crew, and to otherwise promote the standing and reputation of the Taylor Avenue Crew amongst rival gangs.

The violence perpetrated by the Taylor Avenue Crew turned deadly in March 2015.  On or about March 3, 2015, Elijah Davila and Allen McQueen, a now deceased member of the Taylor Avenue Crew,    murdered Pablo Beard, a member of the Leland Avenue Crew, by shooting Beard in the vicinity of 1512 Leland Avenue in the Bronx.  As alleged in the Ortiz Indictment, Davila committed this murder to maintain and increase his position in the Taylor Avenue Crew.

Count One of the Ortiz Indictment charges Irvin Ortiz, Ricardo Garcia, Elijah Davila, Samuel Serrano, Messiah Perry, Pablo Chevere, Gladys Morales, and Kenneth Mercado with participating in a racketeering conspiracy.  Count Seven of the Ortiz Indictment charges Ortiz, Garcia, Davila, Serrano, Perry, Morales, and Mercado, with a firearms offense in connection with that conspiracy.

Counts Two, Three, Six, and Eight charge Davila with conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity, murder in aid of racketeering activity, murder in connection with a drug crime, and a related firearms offense in connection with the March 2015 murder of Pablo Beard.

Count Four of the Ortiz Indictment charges Mercado with assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity in connection with the August 2015 shooting of members of the Leland Avenue Crew.

Count Five of the Ortiz Indictment charges Ortiz, Garcia, Davila, Serrano, Perry, Chevere, Morales, Mercado, and Andrea Bell with participating in a narcotics conspiracy, in connection with their distribution of crack cocaine in and around Taylor Avenue.

United States v. James Capers, et al., 15 Cr. 607 (WHP)

The Leland Avenue Crew was a criminal enterprise that operated principally in and around the Bronx, New York, from at least 2012 up to and including 2015.  One of the principal objectives of the Leland Avenue Crew was to sell crack cocaine, primarily in and around Leland Avenue in the Bronx.  Members and associates of the Leland Avenue Crew engaged in acts of violence against the Taylor Avenue Crew.  These acts of violence included assaults, attempted murder, and murder intended either to protect the Leland Avenue Crew’s drug territory, retaliate against members of rival gangs who had encroached on the territory controlled by the Leland Avenue Crew, or to otherwise promote the standing and reputation of the Leland Avenue Crew among rival gangs.

The violence perpetrated by the Leland Avenue Crew also turned deadly in July 2015.  On or about July 7, 2015, James Capers     murdered Allen McQueen, a member of the Taylor Avenue Crew, by shooting McQueen in the vicinity of 1531 Taylor Avenue in the Bronx.  As alleged in the Capers Indictment, Capers committed this murder to maintain and increase his position in the Leland Avenue Crew.

Count One of the Capers Indictment charges Capers, Tommy Brown, Jesse Irvin, Marquise Rochester, Edwin Moye, Christian McKnight, Unique Christopher, and Dante Rodgers with participating in a racketeering conspiracy.  Count Six of the Capers Indictment charges Capers, Irvin, Rochester, Moye, and McKnight with a firearms offense in connection with that conspiracy.

Counts Two, Four, and Five charge Capers with murder in aid of racketeering activity, murder in connection with a drug crime, and a related firearms offense, in connection with the July 2015 murder of Allen McQueen.

Count Three charges Capers, Brown, Irvin, Rochester, Moye, Mcknight, Christopher, and Rodgers with participating in a narcotics conspiracy, in connection with their distribution of crack cocaine in and around Leland Avenue.

Charts containing the names, ages, residences, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants are set forth below.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of HSI, the DEA, and the NYPD.  He also thanked the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office for its participation and support in this ongoing investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica Lonergan, Scott Hartman, and Jason Swergold 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.

United States v. Irvin Ortiz, et al., 15 Cr. 608 (KPF)

COUNT

CHARGE

DEFENDANTS

MAX. PENALTIES

1

Racketeering conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

IRVIN ORTIZ
RICARDO GARCIA
ELIJAH DAVILA
SAMUEL SERRANO
MESSIAH PERRY
PABLO CHEVERE
GLADYS MORALES
KENNETH MERCADO

20 years in prison

2

Conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5)

ELIJAH DAVILA

10 years in prison

3

Murder in aid of racketeering activity

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1)

ELIJAH DAVILA

Death penalty, or life in prison

4

Assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 1959 (a)(5)

KENNETH MERCADO

20 years in prison

5

Narcotics conspiracy

21 U.S.C. § 846

IRVIN ORTIZ
RICARDO GARCIA
ELIJAH DAVILA
SAMUEL SERRANO
MESSIAH PERRY
PABLO CHEVERE
GLADYS MORALES
KENNETH MERCADO
ANDREA BELL

Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

 

6

Murder in connection with a drug crime

21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A)

ELIJAH DAVILA

Death penalty, or life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison

7

Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime

924(c)(1)(A)(iii)

IRVIN ORTIZ
RICARDO GARCIA
ELIJAH DAVILA
SAMUEL SERRANO
MESSIAH PERRY
GLADYS MORALES
KENNETH MERCADO

Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

8

Murder through use of a firearm

18 U.S.C. § 9249(j)

ELIJAH DAVILA

Death penalty, or mandatory minimum of life in prison

 

DEFENDANT

AGE

RESIDENCE

IRVIN ORTIZ
a/k/a “Goonie”

27

Bronx, NY

RICARDO GARCIA
a/k/a “Bucky”

24

Bronx, NY

ELIJAH DAVILA
a/k/a “Montana”

23

Bronx, NY

SAMUEL SERRANO
a/k/a “Smaxx”

22

Bronx, NY

MESSIAH PERRY
a/k/a “Showtime”

22

Bronx, NY

PABLO CHEVERE
a/k/a “Splash”

32

Bronx, NY

GLADYS MORALES
a/k/a “La Bruja”

34

Bronx, NY

KENNETH MERCADO
a/k/a “Fly,” a/k/a “Twin”

25

Bronx, NY

ANDREA BELL
a/k/a “Andrea Martin,” a/k/a “Drea”

41

Bronx, NY

 

United States v. James Capers, et al., 15 Cr. 607 (WHP)

COUNT

CHARGE

DEFENDANTS

MAX. PENALTIES

1

Racketeering conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

JAMES CAPERS
TOMMY BROWN
JESSE IRVIN
MARQUISE ROCHESTER
EDWIN MOYE
CHRISTIAN MCKNIGHT
UNIQUE CHRISTOPHER
DANTE RODGERS

20 years in prison

2

Murder in aid of racketeering activity

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1)

JAMES CAPERS

Death penalty, or life in prison

3

Narcotics conspiracy

21 U.S.C. § 846

JAMES CAPERS
TOMMY BROWN
JESSE IRVIN
MARQUISE ROCHESTER
EDWIN MOYE
CHRISTIAN MCKNIGHT
UNIQUE CHRISTOPHER
DANTE RODGERS

Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

4

Murder in connection with a drug crime

21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A)

JAMES CAPERS

Death penalty, or life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison

5

Murder through use of a firearm

18 U.S.C. § 924(j)

JAMES CAPERS

Death penalty, or mandatory minimum of life in prison

6

Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime

924(c)(1)(A)(iii)

JAMES CAPERS
JESSE IRVIN
MARQUISE ROCHESTER
EDWIN MOYE
CHRISTIAN MCKNIGHT

Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

 

DEFENDANT

AGE

RESIDENCE

JAMES CAPERS,
a/k/a “Mitch,”

22

Bronx, NY

TOMMY BROWN
a/k/a “Bizzy”

20

Bronx, NY

JESSE IRVIN
a/k/a “Spookz”

24

Bronx, NY

MARQUISE ROCHESTER,
a/k/a “Mook,” a/k/a “Millz”

23

Bronx, NY

EDWIN MOYE,
a/k/a “Eazy”

24

Bronx, NY

CHRISTIAN MCKNIGHT,
a/k/a “Spice”

22

Bronx, NY

UNIQUE CHRISTOPHER,
a/k/a “Bills”

19

Bronx, NY

DANTE RODGERS

21

Bronx, NY

 


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