Six Leaders and Members of Violent Brooklyn Street Gang Charged with Five Murders
NYPD Officer Shot and Innocent Civilians Killed and Wounded
ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, JOHN A. KLOCHAN, Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York, and RAYMOND W. KELLY, Commissioner, New York City Police Department, today announced the filing of racketeering charges against six leaders, members and associates of a violent Brooklyn street gang responsible for five murders - including the murder of a Brooklyn restaurant manager - and numerous attempted murders - including the attempted murder of New York City Police Department officers on New Year's Eve 2002, a gang-related murder attempt which wounded an off-duty police officer caught in the cross-fire, and a gang-related murder attempt in which an innocent 13-year old was shot in the head. The charges are the latest phase in an on-going initiative by the FBI and NYPD, begun in 2002, to combat street gang and drug-related violence in the 73rd Precinct, covering the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.1
Initial appearances and arraignments for the defendants are scheduled this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom, at the U. S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.
According to the indictment and a detention letter filed by the government, the gang referred to itself variously as the Folk Nation, Black Gangstas and Black Gangsta Disciples. The Folk Nation is a nationwide gang active in numerous cities and prisons across the United States. "Folk," which stands for, among other things, "Forever Over Latin Kings," is an offshoot of the Crips gang. The Folk Nation gang active in Brownsville operated out of the Riverdale Towers and Marcus Garvey Village housing facilities. The gang members were notoriously violent and murdered, shot at, stabbed and robbed members of several rival groups in the area, including the Bloods gang, the "Anybody Gets It," or ABG gang, and a group of Guyanese crack cocaine and marijuana dealers known as the "Dreads."
The joint FBI and NYPD initiative sought initially to quell narcotics trafficking in the Marcus Garvey Village housing facility in Brownsville, with the goal of reducing gang and drug-related violence there. To that end, undercover NYPD Detectives made over a hundred purchases of crack cocaine and marijuana from local drug dealers. The undercover buys led to the arrests, beginning in August 2003, of twenty-six individuals on federal narcotics, firearms trafficking, attempted murder and murder charges. Twenty-five of those twenty-six defendants have been convicted after trial or guilty pleas. One remaining defendant is being held pending trial on a drug-related murder charge. This highly successful initiative was followed by a dramatic reduction in violence in the Marcus Garvey Village housing facility, with only one reported shooting there since the August 2003 arrests.
Acting on leads from the initial phase of the investigation as well as renewed undercover, cooperating witness and other investigative work, the FBI and NYPD developed evidence resulting in the current charges. The indictment includes racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, murder conspiracy, assault and related firearms charges, based on the incidents of street gang violence summarized below.
The Murder of Tabatha Buckman. Defendants DWAYNE STONE and JAMES McTIER are charged with the October 14, 2001, murder of Tabatha Buckman, a 34-year-old manager of a fast-food restaurant located at the corner of Mother Gaston Boulevard and Sutter Avenue in Brownsville. Ms. Buckman was caught in the cross-fire while Folk gang members attempted to kill rival ABG gang members believed to be inside the restaurant.
The Attempted Murder of NYPD Officers. Defendant SHARIEF RUSSELL is charged with the attempted murder of several NYPD officers on New Year's Eve 2002. RUSSELL opened fire on the officers as they were responding to a report of shots fired near the Riverdale Towers housing facility in Brownsville.
The Attempted Murder of ABG Members. Defendant JOSE NIEVES is charged with participating in the June 23, 2000, attempted murder of rival ABG gang members. During the shooting, in which NIEVES and others fired on the ABG gang members, an off-duty NYPD officer was hit and wounded. An ABG gang member was also wounded.
The Bristol Street Attempted Murder. Defendant TRAVIS SCOTT is charged with the May 15, 2001, attempted murder of rival gang members in the vicinity of Bristol Street in Brownsville. During the shootout, an innocent 13-year-old was shot in the head, but survived.
The Murder of Jamel Washington. Defendant DWAYNE STONE is charged with the October 6, 2002, murder of Jamel Washington, a 15-year-old rival gang member, in the Marcus Garvey Village housing facility.
The Murder of Caron Phifer. Defendant JOSE NIEVES is charged with the May 9, 2000, murder of Caron Phifer, a reputed Bloods gang member. The murder followed an earlier incident in which Phifer was beaten by Folk gang members for infringing on their territory and flashing the wrong gang signs.
The Murder of Shamel Ayatolla. Defendant JAMES McTIER is charged with the September 3, 2001, murder of Shamel Ayatolla, a rival gang member.
The Attempted Murder of a Bloods Gang Member. Defendant JAMES McTIER is charged with attempting to murder a rival Bloods gang member on August 4, 2000. McTIER shot the Bloods gang member in the head near a Key Food supermarket on Rockaway Avenue in Brownsville. The Bloods gang member survived.
The Murder of Ricky Tubens. Defendant JAMES McTIER is charged with the August 22, 2000, stabbing murder of Ricky Tubens, a member of a rival gang. The murder occurred during a gang fight involving numerous Folk gang members.
The Attempted Murder of Tapscott Street Gang Member. Defendants JAMES McTIER, JOSE NIEVES and JOSIAH McTIER are charged with the attempted murder of a rival gang member from Tapscott Street in Brownsville on September 4, 2000. The victim was seriously wounded and remains paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.
"With this indictment, we send a clear message that we will not tolerate the senseless brutality of gangs and gang violence that all too often leads to a tragic conclusion - death or serious injury to innocent civilians and law enforcement officers," stated United States Attorney MAUSKOPF. "This indictment is but another example of our vigorous and ongoing commitment to combat street gangs and make our communities safe places to live and work."
Federal Bureau of Investigation Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge KLOCHAN stated, "Today's charges mark the culmination of a long-term investigation highlighting again the lethal consequences of the combination of gangs, drugs and guns. This is not simply a tale of rival gang members killing each other over turf. Nothing gets our attention quicker than conditions that threaten the life and safety of police officers and innocent bystanders."
New York City Police Department Commissioner KELLY stated, "Detectives and agents stayed on this case for as long as it took to arrest all the major players. These arrests represent still more progress in making New York safer for all, including the residents of public housing developments. Detectives, agents and prosecutors did outstanding work in this case."
If convicted, the defendants DWAYNE STONE, JAMES McTIER and JOSE NIEVES face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, or the death penalty, and the defendants JOSIAH MCTIER, SHARIEF RUSSELL and TRAVIS SCOTT face a maximum of twenty years' imprisonment.
The case has been assigned to United States District Judge I. Leo Glasser.
The government's case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John Buretta and Jeffrey Knox.
Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn, New York
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