Leader of Queens-Based "Wood City" Gang Convicted of Revenge Killing Over Stolen Necklace
A federal jury in Brooklyn returned a guilty verdict late yesterday afternoon against Christopher Acevedo, the leader of “Wood City,” a violent criminal enterprise which also used the names “Yellow Tape Boyz” and “YTB,” of murder in-aid-of racketeering and causing death through the use of a firearm in connection with the August 26, 2019 fatal shooting of a rival gang associate. The verdict followed a three-week trial before United States District Judge Diane Gujarati. When sentenced, Acevedo faces a mandatory term of life imprisonment.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the verdict.
“How senseless it was for Acevedo to callously take a human life to maintain and burnish his status as the leader of a violent street gang whose members felt insulted by the taking of a piece of jewelry,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “With today’s verdict, the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison. Protecting our communities from gang and gun-related violence is a priority of my Office and I commend the attorneys, Special Agents, and detectives whose work brought the defendant to justice.”
Mr. Peace thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and the New York City Police Department for their exemplary investigative work on the case. Mr. Peace also thanked the FBI Safe Streets Task Force for its assistance with the case.
The evidence at trial established that since at least 2010, the Wood City gang has been engaged in racketeering activity, including murder, drug trafficking, and various forms of fraud and identity theft. Acevedo was the founder and leader of the gang which was so named because many of its members lived around Woodhull Avenue in Jamaica, New York. Since at least 2011, Wood City has been involved in a war with rival “Snow Gang,” another violent gang based in Queens. During this period, members of Wood City and Snow Gang would regularly taunt and insult each other using social media platforms and phone calls. On August 26, 2019, members of Snow Gang, including one of its leaders, robbed a gold “YTB” chain from a high-ranking member of Wood City while he was at a recording studio in Queens. Shortly after the robbery, the Snow Gang leader posted a photo himself wearing the YTB chain on social media. As a leader of Wood City, Acevedo was expected to retaliate for the chain-snatching to protect his gang’s reputation. The defendant and other Wood City members drove to Snow Gang territory and spotted a vehicle with the Snow Gang leader who had robbed the chain and other members and associates of Snow Gang. After following that vehicle to the front of a deli in the vicinity of 140th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard, Acevedo pulled alongside the vehicle and fired a dozen shots, killing the driver David Hutchinson.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys James P. McDonald, Kayla C. Bensing, and Benjamin Weintraub are in charge of the prosecution with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Brittany Wissel.
Jamaica, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-162 (DG)
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office