Crips Gang Member Convicted Of Murder In-Aid-Of Racketeering, Multiple Robberies And Drug Trafficking
Eric Smith, of Long Island-Based Rollin’ 60s Crips, Executed a Rival Bloods Gang Member
Following five weeks of trial, a federal jury in Central Islip, New York, returned a guilty verdict today against Eric Smith, a Crips street gang member also known as “Esama” and “Esco,” on 11 counts, including murder in-aid-of racketeering, racketeering, Hobbs Act robbery, and conspiracy to murder rival gang members. Smith faces a mandatory term of life imprisonment when he is sentenced by United States District Judge Joanna Seybert.
The verdict was announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
During the trial, the government proved that Smith was a ranking member of the Rollin’ 60s set of the Crips, a racketeering enterprise based in Roosevelt, New York, that engaged in murder, attempted murder, narcotics trafficking and firearms trafficking to maintain control of the Roosevelt community for nearly a decade. Smith, who nicknamed himself “Esama da Bomba” in reference to Osama Bin Laden, bragged on social media and to fellow gang members about being the gang’s “top shooter.” The evidence at trial showed Smith lived up to this title. In accordance with the gang’s “on sight” rule, which required members to attack the rival Bloods in Roosevelt whenever possible, using whatever means available, Smith participated in a dozen shootings of rival gang members or their homes. The evidence also showed that Smith shot a man outside a busy nightclub in Freeport and brazenly shot at rivals on residential streets. In addition, the evidence showed that Smith participated in a half dozen robberies with his fellow gang members to acquire cash and drugs for the gang to sell on the streets of Roosevelt.
Among the crimes Smith was convicted of was the December 15, 2010 murder of 19-year-old James McClenic, a member of the rival Bloods street gang. In that December 2010 murder, Smith, drove through the streets of Nassau County for hours, looking for McClenic. At approximately 6:20 p.m., Smith found McClenic sitting in a parked car in a crowded gas station on Hempstead Turnpike in Hempstead, New York. With innocent bystanders standing nearby, Smith, wearing a black ski mask and armed with a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, crept alongside the vehicle in which McClenic was a passenger, and opened fire into the vehicle at close range. Smith fatally shot McClenic in the neck.
According to the evidence, in the wake of the murder and after attempted retaliation by the Bloods against Smith and his fellow Crips, Smith and the leader of the Rollin’ 60s Crips, Raphael Osborne, dispatched younger members of their gang to retaliate. The younger Crips, acted at Smith’s direction, and fired more than a dozen shots into the home of McClenic’s grieving family on the day of the victim’s burial.
Smith was also convicted for his role in two robberies that he committed with the aid of fellow members of the Rollin’ 60s in the fall of 2010. The first robbery involved Smith and a fellow gang member stealing crack cocaine and cash from a victim he pistol-whipped in an effort to force the victim to disclose the location of the drugs. In the second robbery, Osborne directed Smith and fellow Rollin’ 60s members to the home of a drug dealer where Smith and a fellow gang member robbed the dealer of cash and drugs at gunpoint.
“The defendant’s crimes and those of his fellow gang members demonstrated a disregard for human life and the safety of citizens of the Roosevelt community. The defendant took a young man’s life because of his allegiance to a violent street gang. Such gangs like the Rollin’ 60s terrorize communities through violence and drug dealing,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde. “This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will remain vigilant in bringing gang members to justice.” Ms. Rohde thanked the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the Nassau County Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
“The subject in this case had such little regard for human life he took pride in killing people and terrorizing the community, so much so that he nicknamed himself glorifying one of the world’s worst terrorists, Osama bin Laden,” stated Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Our FBI Long Island Gang Task Force won’t rest until we search out and stop every gang member who believes they are above the law and can get away with being such immoral criminals.”
The government’s investigation has led to the arrest and conviction of more than 20 members and associates of the Rollin’ 60s Crips, including its founder Raphael Osborne who was sentenced in January 2017 to three life sentences plus 135 years. To date, ten defendants have been sentenced:
June 21, 2016, Jahmani Hamilton was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of ten years;
August 4, 2016, Kurtis Philip was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of ten years;
August 5, 2016, Courtney Smith was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of ten years;
September 23, 2016, Merlyn Benitez was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of ten years;
October 13, 2016, Derick Hernandez was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 20 years that will run consecutively to a four-year state sentence that he is presently serving;
October 19, 2016, Kwame Lake was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years that will run consecutively to an eight-year state sentence that he is presently serving;
November 4, 2016, Tyshawn Gitto was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment;
January 13, 2017, Branden Short was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment;
April 21, 2017, Rommel Lobban was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment; and
April 25, 2017, Daquanne Nunn was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment;
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole Boeckmann, Christopher C. Caffarone and Michael Maffei are in charge of the prosecution.
ERIC SMITH (a/k/a Esama)
Roosevelt, Long Island
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 14-CR264 (JS)