News and Press Releases

Nine Members of a Gowanus Crack Cocaine and Heroin Distribution Organization Indicted

October 6, 2010

A superseding indictment was unsealed yesterday in federal court in Brooklyn charging nine members of a Brooklyn-based crack cocaine and heroin distribution organization with narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses. Each defendant is allegedly associated with a criminal organization that has dominated the drug trade in the Gowanus Houses in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn. The defendants’ arraignments are scheduled later today before United States Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, John P. Gilbride, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Office, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

According to the indictment and a detention memorandum filed by the government, a four-year joint investigation by the DEA and the NYPD revealed a violent drug dealing crew operating in the Gowanus Houses. All of the defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine and heroin as part of that crew. One defendant is also charged with using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of that drug trafficking activity, as well as being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. During the course of the investigation, the NYPD made over 65 undercover purchases of narcotics from members of the organization. In addition, during the investigation and in conjunction with the defendants’ arrests, search warrants were executed at various residences in the Gowanus Houses and have resulted in the seizure of firearms, ammunition, and quantities of crack cocaine and heroin. Previously, the NYPD recovered a bullet-proof vest from the defendant Ronald Herron, as well as firearms from three other associates of the crew. Yesterday, Herron and two other individuals associated with the crew were arrested outside a nightclub in Manhattan after they were traveling together in a vehicle with a loaded firearm.

“The charges and arrests announced today have disrupted an alleged prolific drug trafficking crew that operated for years and victimized an entire housing development in Brooklyn,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We are committed to ensuring that all residents of our district, including the men, women, and children who live, work, and play in our public housing, are free from the violence and decay associated with narcotics trafficking. As a result of the close cooperation of federal and local law enforcement, the defendants will now be held to account for their charged crimes.” Ms. Lynch added that the government’s investigation is continuing.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “Getting violent drug dealers and dangerous weapons off of our streets is a recipe for safer neighborhoods. I want to commend the NYPD detectives and DEA agents involved in this case for their work that resulted in the arrests of nine alleged drug traffickers that victimized residents of the Gowanus Houses.”

If convicted of the drug distribution conspiracy charge, each of the defendants faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. If convicted of the firearms charges, Herron faces a mandatory sentence of at least five years and a maximum of life in prison.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Carter Burwell and Shreve Ariail.

The Defendants:

RONALD HERRON, also known as “Ra,” “Ra Diggs,” “Ra Digga,” and “Raheem”
Age: 28

JOSEPH GARCIA, also known as “Jo Jo”
Age: 26

MUSA MARSHALL, also known as “Slim”
Age: 25

CRYSTAL LEWIS, also known as “Ebb”
Age: 27

VERDREEA OLMSTEAD, also known as “Auntie”
Age: 48

JOSEPH RANDOLPH, also known as “Rizzle”
Age: 24

JASON VALENTIN, also known as “J”
Age: 22

TYHE WALKER, also known as “G.I.B.” and “Guy in the Bushes”
Age: 29

TYRONE WILSON, also known as “Biscuit” and “Young Bricky”
Age: 27

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