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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Long Island Bloods Gang Member Indicted for Murder and Racketeering

Defendant Fatally Shot Victim at Illusions Gentlemen’s Club in Deer Park

A seven-count indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Central Islip charging Bloods gang member Lawrence Lewis, also known as “L Boogs,” with the July 29, 2017 murder of John Birt, firearms offenses, and narcotics possession and distribution.  Lewis was arrested yesterday and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States District Judge Joanna Seybert.      

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), Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, Timothy D. Sini, District Attorney for Suffolk County, and Geraldine Hart, Acting Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), announced the charges.

“As alleged, this Bloods member committed a senseless murder in furtherance of his violent gang,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.   “The defendant’s arrest should send a loud and clear message that this Office, working collaboratively with our federal and local law enforcement partners, is committed to eradicating gang violence on Long Island and throughout our district, to make our communities safer.”

“The simple act of taking a photo ended in a man losing his life, all because a gang member was allegedly offended and decided to retaliate,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “It’s hard to fathom how the suspect in this case weighed exposing his illegal drug trade, and his illegal weapons because he wanted to prove how tough he is to his rivals.  The FBI Long Island Gang Task Force is committed to rooting out the violent gangs and their destructive behavior in our communities.”

“Once murder is added to the list of allegations against Lewis, it is evident that the alleged distribution of large amounts of cocaine and heroin in Long Island neighborhoods was only the tip of his criminal activity,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez.  “We will not stand by while violent gang members roam free in our communities. Lewis had little regard for the life he took or the lives he affected by dealing drugs, and he will now need to face the consequences of his crimes.”

“It is a top priority of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office to prosecute members of dangerous, violent street gangs to the fullest extent of the law,” stated Suffolk County District Attorney Sini.  “This individual showed a total disregard for human life and for the law, which will not be tolerated. Today’s indictment is a reinforcement of our Office’s commitment to combating gang violence in our communities and our dedication to working collaboratively with our law enforcement partners to keep Suffolk County residents safe.”

“The Suffolk County Police Department will continue working with our law enforcement partners to bring criminal gang members and their associates to justice,” stated SCPD Acting Commissioner Hart. “The arrest of this murderer will send yet another powerful message to gangs across Long Island that illegal activities will not be tolerated.”

According to the indictment and statements made during the arraignment, between January 2016 and March 2018, Lewis utilized his membership in the Bloods street gang to distribute large quantities of cocaine base and heroin in Suffolk County.  In order to protect his supply of narcotics and secure his ability to distribute his narcotics, Lewis possessed a number of firearms, including a Mossberg .22 caliber rifle and a Ruger .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. 

On July 29, 2017, Birt and several friends were posing for a photo at the Illusions Gentlemen’s Club in Deer Park when they were approached by an associate of Lewis who was also a member of the Bloods.  The associate attempted to display a Bloods gang hand signal in the photo and a dispute ensued.  Lewis pulled out a handgun and fatally shot Birt.  

If convicted, Lewis faces a maximum term of life imprisonment.       

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher C. Caffarone, Mark E. Misorek and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen A. Kearon are in charge of the prosecution. 

The Defendant

LAWRENCE LEWIS
Age: 36
Residence: Calverton, New York  

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-187 (JS)

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Contact: 
John Marzulli Tyler Daniels United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated April 17, 2018