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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

17 Members and Associates of Queens-Based Makk Balla Brims Set of the Bloods Gang Indicted for Racketeering, Including Predicate Acts of Robbery and Firearms Offenses

A superseding indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging 17 members and associates of the Makk Balla Brims set of the Bloods street gang with crimes related to their participation in a robbery crew that used guns and violence to steal property over a nine-month period in 2017 in Queens and on Long Island.  The 16 newly charged defendants were arrested today, and all but three will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold.  The remaining defendants, who are incarcerated in state and federal facilities, will be arraigned on a later date.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the indictment.

“As alleged, members and their associates of the Makk Balla Brims set of the Bloods committed numerous, violent armed robberies, victimizing families in their homes and employees and patrons of local businesses, including a barber shop,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “We are working tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to ensure that our community is protected from the threat posed by violent street gangs such as this one.”  Mr. Donoghue expressed his grateful appreciation to the Port Washington Police Department, Nassau County Police Department and New York State Department of Corrections for their assistance during the investigation.

“Members of this gang allegedly attacked innocent people in their own homes, believing they could act without consequences,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Our goal when we open an investigation into violent gangs is to take out the leadership.  This case is a perfect example of how we don’t stop simply by making a few arrests, we will continue to investigate and track down all those involved in their criminal activity and stop them from literally terrorizing a community in their lust for violence.”

“Targeting and dismantling criminal groups, and preventing violence that is often associated with their illegal activities, continues to be among the highest priorities for the NYPD and our law enforcement partners,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill.  “I commend and thank the attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York for bringing this case forward, and the NYPD investigators for their hard work to keep our communities safe and further reduce crime and disorder.”

The Makk Balla Brims set of the Bloods is comprised primarily of members residing in and around the South Jamaica Houses and the American Towers in Queens.  As alleged in the indictment and other court filings, between May 2017 and December 2017, the defendants participated in 11 robberies or attempted robberies, brandishing or using guns during most of the crimes.  The defendants targeted individuals they believed would be in possession of large amounts of cash, electronics, jewelry or narcotics.  Upon receiving a tip about a promising victim, the Makk Balla Brims would assemble a crew to carry out the robbery, and the participants adopted various roles for the crime, including lookout, getaway driver and gunman.  Several of the charged robberies are described below:

The Barber Shop Robbery

On September 23, 2017, Michael Miles, Shamel Simpkins, Reshawn Smith, Kimberly Thompson and other co-conspirators robbed the Jevo Barber Shop in Jamaica, Queens.  Simpkins chose the crew members, Miles was armed with a TEC-9 semiautomatic pistol and Thompson drove the getaway car.  Miles and Smith entered the shop and removed gold chains, cell phones and cash from the victims, as well as cash proceeds from the business.

Home Invasion and Torture

On September 29, 2017, Andre Barnaby, Brandon Darby and Pierre Raymond broke into a home in Elmont, Long Island that they believed to be a marijuana stash house, while Simpkins and Shawn Silvera remained in the getaway car.  Darby and Raymond wore masks and brandished guns.  They tied up one victim with an extension cord and demanded marijuana and cash.  When the victim stated that he did not have marijuana, Raymond and Darby heated up a knife and repeatedly burned the victim’s legs.

Home Invasion and Shooting

On October 11, 2017, James Roberson, Simpkins, Thompson and other co-conspirators robbed a house in North Valley Stream, Long Island, where they believed a jewelry store owner kept jewelry and cash.  Roberson and several co-conspirators forced their way into the house brandishing guns, and restrained the victim’s family members using zip ties.  Roberson shot the victim in the stomach before fleeing with jewelry and electronics.  The victim received medical treatment and survived.

Targeting Homes with Outdoor Indian Flags

In at least two robberies, the defendants looked for homes where Indian flags were flying because they believed the residents kept gold and cash inside.  Avery Mitchell posed as a deliveryman wearing a United Parcel Service (UPS) jacket to enter a house, where he and other co-conspirators restrained two young girls at gunpoint.  Mitchell and the crew fled with electronics and jewelry.  On November 19, 2017, Davis, Nahjuan Perry, Mitchell and other co-conspirators robbed a second house where Indian flags were flying outside.  Mitchell again donned a UPS jacket as a ruse to gain entry, and shot one resident before fleeing empty-handed.

Eleven defendants -- Andre Barnaby, Brandon Darby, Antonio Davis, Michael Miles, Avery Mitchell, Nahjuan Perry, James Roberson, Shawn Silvera, Shamel Simpkins, Rashawn Smith, and Kimberly Thompson -- are charged with racketeering, including predicate acts of Hobbs Act robberies, robbery under New York State law and related firearms offenses.  Five additional defendants -- Matthew Elias, Tyquan Henderson, Pierre Raymond, Latiff Thompson, and Lawrence Woods -- are newly charged with Hobbs Act robbery and related firearms offenses.  Constantin Cheese was previously charged with Hobbs Act robbery and related firearms offenses in an underlying indictment.

If convicted, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of at least seven years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment.

The charges in the indictments are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan E. Algor and Jennifer M. Sasso are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

ANDRE BARNABY (also known as “Goonie Dre”)
Age:  27
Queens, New York

CONSTANTIN CHEESE (also known as “Cheese”)
Age:  31
Queens, New York

BRANDON DARBY (also known as “Barrack”)
Age:  28
Queens, New York

ANTONIO DAVIS (also known as “Big Blood”)
Age:  38
Queens, New York

MATTHEW ELIAS (also known as “Heddis”)
Age:  36
Queens, New York

TYQUAN HENDERSON (also known as “Gun Play”)
Age:  22
Queens, New York

MICHAEL MILES (also known as “Michael Davis” and “Menace”)
Age:  35
Queens, New York

AVERY MITCHELL (also known as “Slay”)
Age:  24
Queens, New York

NAHJUAN PERRY (also known as “Nas”)
Age:  24
Queens, New York

PIERRE RAYMOND (also known as “Leeky”)
Age:  21
Queens, New York

JAMES ROBERSON (also known as “Littles”)
Age:  24
Queens, New York

SHAMEL SIMPKINS (also known as “Sha Bang”)
Age:  32
Queens, New York

SHAWN SILVERA (also known as “Dum Out”)
Age:  26
Queens, New York

RASHAWN SMITH (also known as “Shawn”)
Age:  22
Queens, New York

KIMBERLY THOMPSON (also known as “Kimmy”)
Age:  23
Queens, New York

LATIFF THOMPSON (also known as “La Banga”)
Age:  30
Queens, New York

LAWRENCE WOODS (also known as “Lazo”)
Age:  33
Queens, New York

 

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
John Marzulli Tyler Daniels United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated July 16, 2019