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NEW YORK NEWS

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

48 Members and Associates of 2 Rival Bronx Street Gangs Charged in Federal Court with Racketeering Offenses, Including 3 Murders, Narcotics Trafficking, and Firearms Offenses

DEC 09 (NEW YORK) - James J. Hunt, the 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, Delano A. Reid, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and William J. Bratton, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the unsealing today of two Indictments charging a total of 48 members and associates of two Bronx-based street gangs, the Young Gunnaz (“YGz”) and 18 Park, with various racketeering, narcotics, and firearms offenses, including three gang-related murders, and five gang-related attempted murders.

The YGz Indictment charges 22 members and associates of the YGz gang in the case of United States v. Ramel Matthews et al., which has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni.  The 18 Park Indictment charges 26 members and associates of the 18 Park gang in the case of United States v. Jonathan Rodriguez et al., which has been assigned to U.S.  District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.  Of the 48 defendants charged in both the YGz and 18 Park Indictments, 40 are currently in custody, including 23 defendants who were arrested earlier today as part of a coordinated takedown by ATF, DEA, and NYPD.   Most of these defendants will be presented today before United States Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis. 
DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said:  “Drug gangs plague our neighborhoods with gun violence.  The bottom line is, when there are gangs competing to sell poison for profit, the inevitable consequences are gunfire, murder and violent crime.  I commend law enforcement’s brave efforts to rid the unacceptable risks of violence to our neighborhoods by making these arrests today.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:   “Today’s charges incapacitate four dozen alleged gang members who have wreaked havoc on Bronx streets for years.  As alleged, these defendants are members of gangs that have engaged in all manner of mayhem – three murders, five attempted murders, racketeering, drug dealing, and gun charges.  Thanks to the brave men and women of the ATF, DEA, and NYPD, these alleged criminals must now face justice in federal court.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid said:  "Today, the ATF along with the NYPD, DEA and HSI, successfully launched a large-scale arrest operation on two, Bronx based, violent street gangs who conducted their illegal narcotics and firearm trafficking operation in and around the Patterson Housing projects for several years. As alleged, the 18th Park and YGz gangs routinely conducted their street level narcotics trafficking of crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana and in the course of these activities, committed various acts of violence, to include approximately 30 non-fatal shootings, three homicides, assaults and stabbings.  With nearly three dozen arrested thus far, I am confident that our efforts today will clearly illustrate that this type of gang activity will not be tolerated and there will be consequences for those who choose to illegally deal in firearms and commit acts of violence. I am hopeful that the residents of this area will wake up to a safer environment no longer plagued by the scourge of senseless gang violence.”

Commissioner William J. Bratton said:  “As alleged, the numerous acts of violence perpetrated by these street gangs demonstrate an egregious and sustained disregard for the law and the safety of our community.  This investigation conducted by NYPD detectives and our federal and state partners is to be commended.  While the unfortunate correlation between narcotics trafficking and violence is well known, so is our commitment to stop these acts.”
As alleged in the Indictments unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and in other court papers:

United States v. Ramel Matthews, et al.

The YGz was a criminal enterprise that operated mainly in and around several housing developments in the Bronx, New York, from 2005 through December 2015.  Members and associates of the YGz enriched themselves by committing robberies and selling drugs, such as crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, and engaged in acts of violence, including murder and attempted murder of rival gang members, rival drug traffickers, and innocent bystanders.
  
For example, on June 27, 2009, YGz members Ramel Matthews, Anthony Scott, and Haswani Tyson attempted to commit a gunpoint robbery near the Mott Haven Houses in the Bronx, and in the course of this attempted robbery, Scott shot and killed Darrel Ledgister, who was 21 years old.  

More recently, on April 16, 2012, a large group of YGz members, including Wendell Belle and William Bracey, stomped to death Moises Lora a/k/a “Noah,” a 16-year-old associate of a rival gang, in a courtyard in the Melrose Houses in the Bronx.             

Count One of the YGz Indictment charges Ramel Matthews, Wendell Belle, William Bracey, Anthony Scott, Haswani Tyson, Rashaad Conyers, Paul Gilbert, Kareem Lanier, Terrance Williams, Jason Moye, Michael Brown, Briant Lamont Maynor, Andy Seda, Davoun Matthews, Joseph Anderson, Davaughn Brooks, John Hughes, Joseph Jeffries, Donovan Reynolds, Kyle Hines, Chanel Leon, and Christopher Morales with participating in a racketeering conspiracy for criminal involvement in the YGz gang.  Count Nine of the YGz Indictment charges 16 of those 22 defendants (namely, Ramel Matthews, Belle, Bracey, Scott, Conyers, Gilbert, Lanier, Williams, Moye, Brown, Maynor, Seda, Davoun Matthews, Hughes, Jeffries, Reynolds, and Morales) with a related firearms offense.

Counts Two and Eight of the YGz Indictment charge Ramel Matthews, Anthony Scott, and Haswani Tyson with the murder of Darrel Ledgister in aid of racketeering, and a related firearms offense.

Count Three of the YGz Indictment charges Wendell Belle and William Bracey with the murder of Moises Lora in aid of racketeering.

Count Four of the YGz Indictment charges Wendell Belle with aiding and abetting an assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder in connection with a November 2013 shooting aimed at killing rival gang members near Courtlandt Avenue in the Bronx, resulting in a bystander being shot and wounded.

Count Five of the YGz Indictment charges Paul Gilbert with assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder in connection with a June 2014 shooting by the Mott Haven Houses in the Bronx aimed at killing an associate of a rival gang in the Bronx, resulting in an individual being shot and wounded.

Count Six of the YGz Indictment charges Rashaad Conyers with assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder in connection with a May 2015 shooting near the Patterson Houses in the Bronx aimed at killing rival gang members in the Bronx.

Count Seven of the YGz Indictment charges Ramel Matthews, Terrance Williams, Michael Brown, Andy Seda, Davoun Matthews, Davaughn Brooks, John Hughes, Joseph Jeffries, Kyle Hines, Chanel Leon, and Christopher Morales with participating in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.

United States v. Jonathan Rodriguez, et al.

18 Park was a criminal enterprise that operated mainly in and around the Patterson Houses and Mott Haven Houses in the Bronx, New York, from 2006 through December 2015.  Members and associates of 18 Park enriched themselves by selling drugs, such as crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, and committed acts of violence, including murder and attempted murder of rival gang members, rival drug traffickers, and innocent bystanders.

For example, on May 29, 2011, 18 Park member Keith Ruiz and others, murdered Johnny Moore, a 16-year-old associate of a rival gang, in the Patterson Houses in the Bronx.

Count One of the 18 Park Indictment charges Jonathan Rodriguez, Marquis Wright, Wali Burgos, Jason Benjamin, Jordan Rivera, William Amarazin, Raheem Amarazin, Tjon Macoll, Corey Heyward, Jonathan Harris, William Knox, Corey Cooks, Daquan Mcbeth, Jahnomi Benjamin, Keith Ruiz, Ryan Valentin, Miguel Romero, Kaye Rosado, Andrew Echevarria, Naquan Simmons, Diquinn Lacend, Wilfredo Rivera, Kenneth Jenkins, Vincent Fielder, Mia Dentico, and Pamela Brown with participating in a racketeering conspiracy for criminal involvement in the 18 Park gang.  Count Six of the 18 Park Indictment also charges 20 of those 26 defendants (Rodriguez, Wright, Burgos, Jason Benjamin, Rivera, William Amarazin, Raheem Amarazin, Macoll, Heyward, Harris, Knox, Cooks, Mcbeth, Jahnomi Benjamin, Valentin, Romero, Echevarria, Simmons, Lacend, and Dentico) with a related firearms offense.

Count Two of the 18 Park Indictment charges Keith Ruiz with aiding and abetting the murder of Johnny Moore in aid of racketeering.

Count Three of the 18 Park Indictment charges Wali Burgos, Jordan Rivera, and Corey Cooks with assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder in connection with an October 2014 shooting in the Patterson Houses aimed at killing a rival gang member.

Count Four of the 18 Park Indictment charges William Amarazin and Tjon Macoll with assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder in connection with a December 2011 shooting aimed at killing an associate of a rival gang.

Count Five of the 18 Park Indictment charges Marquis Wright, Wali Burgos, Jason Benjamin, Jordan Rivera, William Amarazin, Raheem Amarazin, Tjon Macoll, Corey Heyward, Jonathan Harris, William Knox, Daquan Mcbeth, Jahnomi Benjamin, Miquel Romero, Kaye Rosado, Andrew Echevarria, Naquan Simmons, Diquinn Lacend, Kenneth Jenkins, Vincent Fielder, Mia Dentico and Pamela Brown with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
           
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 ATF, the DEA, and the NYPD.  He also thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and Bronx County District Attorney’s Office for their 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 Samson Enzer, James McDonald, and Dina McLeod 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.  


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