Leader Of Violent Gang Sentenced To Life In Prison For Racketeering And Murder
Defendant Anthony Christian Ordered the Murder of a Rival Gang Member Who He Believed Threatened His Group’s Drug Distribution Operation on Staten Island
Anthony Christian was sentenced today to life in prison by United States District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. Christian was convicted at trial in October 2014 on charges of racketeering – including the murder of Jerome Estella and three murder conspiracies as racketeering acts – as well as firearms possession and multiple counts based on his trafficking in crack cocaine. The defendant faced a mandatory life sentence for his role in the Estella murder. The charges arose out of the defendant’s long-time dominance of a drug crew that operated in the Park Hill housing complex in the Clifton neighborhood of Staten Island.
The sentence was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Diego G. Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI).
As proven at trial, Anthony Christian, also known as “Nitty,” and his brother Harvey Christian led a violent narcotics distribution ring in Park Hill from 1991 to 2011. In the mid-1990s, the Christian brothers and their associates sought to take control of more drug territory within Park Hill. To achieve this, they engaged in massive gun battles for months. During one of the battles, in May 1995, law enforcement recovered 77 shell casings inside a residential building, outside on the street, and on the roof. In 1999, Anthony Christian ordered another member of the enterprise to murder a rival drug dealer named Corey Brooker. In the course of looking for Brooker, the enterprise member had a dispute with Brooker’s associate, Jerome Estella. Anthony Christian then authorized the other enterprise member to murder Estella, and provided him with the 9 millimeter handgun he used to carry out the murder.
In the year before the Christian brothers’ arrests in 2011, multiple search warrants and arrests related to members of the organization and their associates were executed in and around Park Hill and elsewhere in New York. These searches and arrests resulted in the seizure of firearms and ammunition, including a Mac-11 pistol, as well as large quantities of crack and powder cocaine. During a search of the Christian brothers’ apartment in the Park Hill housing complex in February 2010, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) recovered multiple bullet-proof vests, crack-cocaine, and marijuana.
Harvey Christian, who was also convicted of all counts at trial in October 2014, faces a mandatory minimum 40-year prison term and is awaiting sentencing.
Mr. Capers extended his grateful appreciation to the FBI, the NYPD, and the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Allon Lifshitz, Richard M. Tucker, and Kevin Trowel.
Staten Island, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 11-CR-425