Press Releases

U.S. Attorney For The Southern District Of New York Charges 65 Yonkers Gang Members, Associates, And Others With Narcotics And Firearms Offenses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2011

Three Defendants Also Charged With Murder Of Rival Gang Member

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), and Edmund Hartnett, Police Commissioner of the City of Yonkers, announced today the unsealing of five separate indictments charging a total of 65 defendants with a series of federal crimes, including murder, narcotics distribution, and firearms possession in Yonkers, New York. Fifty-nine of the defendants are members or associates of either the Elm Street Wolves or the Cliff Street Gangsters – two street-gangs based in Yonkers, New York.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: "The federal charges unsealed today should make it crystal clear that if you join a gang or deal drugs or engage in violence in Yonkers, you are facing federal time now. Today’s actions do not reflect any new law enforcement commitment –rather, they reflect a longstanding and deeply-held belief that every community in the Southern District of New York should be safe and free from the poison of drugs, gangs, and violence. We who police the streets and prosecute criminals have no more important duty."

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk stated: "The Elm Street Wolves and Cliff Street Gangsters viciously defended their drug territories, at times aligning with each other against rival dealers, outsiders, and non-members.  They retaliated against anyone who dared to encroach on their territory, and they brought murder, mayhem and fear to our communities. We are committed to eliminating the criminal enterprises that peddle poison and arm their sales force with guns. Whether you live in Yonkers or Scarsdale, Mt. Vernon or Mt. Kisco, you have a right to safety and security in your neighborhood."

Yonkers Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett stated: "The issue of gangs and gang-related violence is not a local or regional matter. It's a national problem. While law enforcement
must continue its efforts in the area of gang prevention, joint investigations such as this which disrupt and dismantle gangs from top to bottom are a very effective tool. This case will have a positive impact on this neighborhood; an immediate visible and tangible result will be evident. On behalf of the Mayor and the people of the City of Yonkers, we extend our gratitude to the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and to the FBI New York Office for their support, cooperation and collaboration in this investigation."

According to the Indictments unsealed today in White Plains federal court:

A 21-count indictment, United States v. Steven Knowles et. al., charges 47 members and associates of the Elm Street Wolves street-gang with multiple counts related to the distribution of crack cocaine, as well as firearm offenses. The Elm Street Wolves are a drug trafficking organization whose members have sold crack cocaine in the vicinity of Elm and Oak streets in Yonkers, New York, since at least 2000. Members and associates of the Elm Street Wolves worked together to ensure that they profited from the gang’s crack sales. Members and associates of the Elm Street Wolves also shared firearms and used those firearms to protect the Wolves’ territory from encroachment by rivals, including the Strip Boys and GMF gangs.

Forty-seven members and associates of the Elm Street Wolves – STEVEN KNOWLES, MICHAEL ANDREWS, GLEN BASKET, JEROME BROOKS, ROBERT BRUCE, STANLEY BRUCE, MARCUS CHAMBERS, GERALD CHARLES, GERARD CHARLES, MICHAEL CLEMONS, QUEJUAN COLLINS, MICHAEL DENNIS, RAYVON DIAZ, JOSEPH DUQUESNE, JAMES EDMONSON, KYLE ELLISON, CHRISTOPHER GLIVENS, CHRISTOPHER GRANGER, DEXTER GRANGER, KAREEM GRANGER, RYAN GRANGER, DAQUAN GREENE, PAUL HARDY, JASON HARRIS, TYREE HUGHES, WILLIE JACKSON, MARK JONES, RASHAD MCNULTY, DONTE MELVIN, ANTHONY NORTHOVER, MARCUS ODOM, DOMINICK PALLANO, SHAWN PATTERSON, DONALD PEGUES, DEXTER PICKETT, MARQUISE PICKETT, BERNARD POTILLO, TRAVIS ROBINSON, MARCUS SHEPPERD, ERIC SMITH, SHARIF STEWART, JAMES SUMMERS, SAMUEL SUTTON, DEXTER THOMAS, RONNELL THOMAS, EDWARD WHITNEY and ANDREW WILSON – are charged with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine from 2000 through August 2011. Forty-one of these defendants are also charged with using, carrying, possessing and discharging firearms during the narcotics conspiracy. KNOWLES, one of the leaders of the Elm Street Wolves, and two other members, MICHAEL ANDREWS and
DEXTER GRANGER, are also charged with the murder of Christopher Cokley, a member of a rival gang, on July 4, 2009.

A five-count indictment, United States v. Preston Hardy et al., charges 12 members and associates of the Cliff Street Gangsters with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and marijuana, as well as firearms offenses. The Cliff Street Gangsters are a drug trafficking organization whose members have sold crack cocaine and high-grade marijuana in the vicinity of Cliff Street in Yonkers, New York since at least 2005. Like the Elm Street Wolves, members and associates of the Cliff Street Gangsters sold narcotics and shared firearms to protect their territory from encroachment by rival gangs. Twelve members and associates of the Cliff Street Gangsters –- PRESTON HARDY, JAMES GLOVER, MICHAEL GLOVER, TERRANCE GONZALEZ, JAMES HARDY, AUDAI HOWARD, JOSHUA JENKINS, TERRELL LUCAS, MIGUEL MARQUEZ, GENE THOMAS, SHAWN THOMAS and BRANDON WILLIAMS –are charged with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine and marijuana from 2005 through August 2011. Eleven of these defendants are also charged with using, carrying, possessing and discharging firearms during the narcotics conspiracy. The Cliff Street Gangsters were aligned with the Elm Street Wolves in a long-running, violent dispute with members of the Strip Boys and GMF gangs. Certain members of the Elm Street Wolves and Cliff Street Gangsters committed acts of violence to protect their respective drug territory, including beatings, stabbings and shootings.

Two additional indictments, United States v. Hector Valentine, et al., and United States v. Michael Jones, charge four Yonkers residents with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine as well as substantive counts of possession and distribution of crack cocaine. HECTOR VALENTINE, LEONARD BAMBERG and RONALD CHANCE are charged with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine in Yonkers from October 2010 through May 2011, and with possessing crack cocaine with the intent to distribute the crack.  MICHAEL JONES is charged with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine in Yonkers from 2010 through May 2011 and with possessing crack with the intent to distribute.

A fifth indictment, United States v. Jonathan Harvey-Acquino, et al., charges two Yonkers residents with selling firearms. JONATHAN HARVEY-ACQUINO and BRANDEN JONES are charged with conspiring to distribute firearms and with selling two semiautomatic firearms in Yonkers from November 2010 through April 16, 2011.

Federal and local law enforcement officers executed court-authorized warrants today on 13 locations tied to many of the named defendants. During the arrests and searches, agents and officers seized a number of firearms, quantities of crack and marijuana, as well as cash from at least 11 individuals and locations.

*            *         *

Sixty-two of the 65 defendants charged in the Indictments were arrested today or were previously in custody.  The defendants arrested today are expected to be presented in White Plains federal court later this afternoon. A chart setting forth the charges in the Indictments and the applicable penalties is attached.

The Indictments are the result of a long-term investigation conducted by federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. In March 2009, this Office charged three members of the Elm Street Wolves – GREGORY FULLER, DAVON YOUNG, and THOMAS CHAMBLISS – with the January 2008 murder of a narcotics dealer in northern Yonkers.  In January 2011, FULLER, YOUNG, and CHAMBLISS were each convicted after trial of murder, conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, robbery and firearms offenses. They are scheduled to be sentenced on September 29, 2011. In July 2011, LUZ RIVERA pled guilty to operating a stash apartment used by members of the Elm Street Wolves to package crack cocaine, and is awaiting sentencing.

This Office also charged DESHORN SHEALY, a member of the Cliff Street Gangsters, with conspiracy to distribute crack in October 2010. The case is pending.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the Yonkers Police Department. He also thanked the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the New York State Police, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the case. He added that the investigation is continuing.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael English, Andrew Bauer, and Telemachus Kasulis 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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