Albany's Safe Street Task Force Arrests 25 Members of the Original
OCT 29 -- ALBANY, NY - JOHN P. GILBRIDE, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division (“DEA”) and United States Attorney Andrew T. Baxter announce that twenty four (24) Albany men and one (1) Albany woman were charged in a federal indictment unsealed today.
Twenty-three (23) were charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering activity and all twenty-five (25) were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack cocaine), cocaine and marijuana. The Indictment alleges that twenty-three (23) defendants were members of, and conducted racketeering activity through, a criminal organization known as the Original Gangsta Killers (also known as the “OGK”) gang. The Indictment further alleges that the gang has operated within the City of Albany from approximately 2000 through the present. The 23 defendants were charged with conspiring to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity which includes multiple acts of drug trafficking, robbery and attempted murder.
The Indictment further alleges that members of the OGK gang: (1) maintained control over a specific geographic territory, located generally in the South End of the City of Albany, within which they and their associates conducted their primary income producing venture, which included the distribution of crack cocaine, cocaine and marijuana; (2) protected their narcotics distribution territory with violence if necessary, including physical assaults and shootings; (3) possessed and engaged in acts of violence with firearms, including robberies and shootings of rival gang members and associates; (4) traveled out of state to obtain firearms and transported them back to Albany, New York so that they could be made available to other OGK members; (5) participated in the production of music CDs, videotapes and DVDs, some of which were posted on the Internet, that communicated their violent methods and warned of their intention to commit violent acts and retaliate for violent acts committed upon their own members; and (6) utilized telephones and written correspondence to communicate with each other regarding gang related matters, request assistance from other gang members and update each other on the status of the members of rival gangs.
The charges carry maximum penalties of imprisonment for life, supervised release for life, and a fine of $4,000,000, and statutory minimum penalties of imprisonment for ten (10) years and supervised release for five (5) years. If convicted, the defendants with prior drug felony convictions face statutory minimum penalties of imprisonment for twenty (20) years and supervised release for ten (10) years.
Law enforcement authorities arrested 13 defendants at various locations in the Albany area early this morning. Ten (10) defendants were previously incarcerated. Two (2) defendants, Kolby J. Martin and Kenyan D. Poole, remain at large. Defendants began appearing before United States Magistrate Judge David R. Homer at 1:30 p.m. today for initial appearances.
Searches were conducted by the authorities at various locations in the City of Albany this morning. Among the items of evidence seized were quantities of crack cocaine (approximately two ounces), .22 caliber ammunition, drug paraphernalia, including a scale used for weighing narcotics, and gang related material, including photographs, DVDs, CDs, and clothing.
This prosecution resulted from an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and Safe Streets Task Force investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Albany District Office; Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Albany Field Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; the City of Albany Police Department; the Albany County Sheriff’s Department; the New York State Police; the New York State Department of Corrections; the New York State Division of Parole; and the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of the United States Marshal, Northern District of New York, Albany Office; U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security; the Albany County District Attorney’s Office; and the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office.
John P. Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration stated, “With unprecedented law enforcement coordination and investigation, this drug trafficking gang has been shut down. Over 25 gang members and associates who were responsible for distributing crack cocaine throughout the Albany area have been taken off the streets. This effort proves law enforcement's commitment to keeping our communities safe from the perils of drugs and the violence associated with drug trafficking.”
United States Attorney Baxter praised the cooperative efforts of the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies who participated in this investigation and prosecution. U.S. Attorney Baxter noted that his Office will continue to work closely with all law enforcement participants to investigate and prosecute gangs which engage in gun violence, narcotics trafficking, and other criminal activity throughout the Northern District of New York.
John F. Pikus, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Albany Field Division, said, “Individuals arrested today have preyed upon our community for the last time. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to work towards making the City of Albany a safe place for our citizens.”
Ronald B. Turk, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York Field Division, stated that “Violent gangs are a plague on our neighborhoods and these gangs need to be eliminated quickly. One of ATF's roles in combating these gangs is to deny them access to firearms. Working with our federal and local law enforcement partners, we have been able to identify sources of firearms for this particular gang and have shut down that supply. ATF remains committed to protecting the public, and along with our partners, will continue to target violent crime to make our streets safer.”
Mayor Gerald D. Jennings said, “Today's arrests reinforce the City of Albany’s commitment to working with law enforcement on all levels to rid our City of violent criminals and gangs. I would like to thank Deputy Chief Steven Krokoff and the men and woman of the Albany Police Department, together with all of the federal, state and local agencies that played a role in this Safe Streets initiative.”
Brian Fischer, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services, stated, “The cooperation of law enforcement agencies at multiple levels of government made today's actions possible. The combined and coordinated efforts of this task force should underscore the seriousness of our efforts to fight criminal activity both inside and outside prisons.”
The defendants named in the Indictment include:
Terrence ANTHONY “T-Black”; “Blacc” 29 Previously incarcerated
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carlos A. Moreno and Daniel Hanlon. Further questions or inquiries may be directed to Assistant United States Attorney Richard Hartunian at (518) 431-0247.