MS-13 Gang Leader Sentenced to Life in Prison for Racketeering Charges Including the Murder of 16-Year-Old Victim in Alley Pond Park in Queens
Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, United States District Judge Joanna Seybert sentenced Bloods gang member Lawrence Lewis, also known as “L Boogs,” to life plus 22 years imprisonment following his conviction for the July 29, 2017 murder of John Birt, the 2014 forcible rape and sex trafficking of a Suffolk County woman, narcotics possession and distribution and witness tampering, as well as various firearms charges. Lewis was convicted by a federal jury in November 2021 following a four-week trial.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Raymond A. Tierney, Suffolk County District Attorney, Christie M. Curtis, Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), and Rodney K. Harrison, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), announced the sentence.
“A mandatory life sentence is a fitting punishment for Lewis, a gang member who committed murder, rape, sex trafficking, and pushed drugs in our community,” stated Unites States Attorney Peace. “Through his allegiance to the Bloods, the defendant caused considerable harm to others, and that decision has now permanently cost him his freedom. I commend our prosecutors, and federal and local law enforcement partners for their collaborative work that has made Suffolk County safer as a result of the arrest and prosecution of this violent criminal.”
"The terror and violence this defendant unleashed on to Suffolk County is deplorable. Defendant Lewis's greed and thirst for power prompted him to commit murder, spread dangerous drugs throughout our communities and exploit those who owed him money by sex trafficking," stated Suffolk County District Attorney Tierney. "Thanks to our strong partnership with U.S. Attorney Breon Peace and our local and federal law enforcement partners, the public will be protected from this defendant for life."
“Today’s life sentence assures that Lawrence Lewis’ violent criminal behavior that plagued Long Island communities has been brought to a definitive conclusion,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo. “While nothing can erase the pain and suffering endured by his victims, no one else will be harmed by this unrepentant individual who has shown a wanton disregard for human life. I am especially grateful to the HSI special agents and task force officers, the FBI, SCPD, and the prosecutorial team whose dedication and professionalism ensured that justice prevailed in this case.
“Lewis is a career criminal, who committed heinous acts without remorse, and caused irreparable damage to victims and their families," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison said. "The Suffolk County Police Department will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure perpetrators like Lewis never see freedom again and I commend Eastern District of New York for this result.”
Between January April 2004 and June 2019, 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 an AR-15 assault rifle, a pistol-grip 12-gauge shotgun, a Mossberg .22 caliber rifle and a Ruger .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
Lewis also engaged in acts of extreme violence on the gang’s behalf. In 2021, Lewis forced a Suffolk County woman into prostitution, forcing her to engage in commercial sex acts until she repaid a debt to him. During the same period of time, Lewis forcibly raped the same woman. In addition, on July 29, 2017, Lewis shot and killed John Birt, a member of the Crips gang, at the Illusions Gentlemen’s Club in Deer Park, New York. While Birt and several friends posed for pictures inside the club. Lewis and a fellow Bloods gang member approached, and Lewis’ associate attempted to display a Bloods hand signal. An argument ensued. Lewis produced a .25 caliber firearm and fatally shot Birt in the abdomen. Following the shooting, Lewis confessed to the murder to a number of close acquaintances, even sending text messages stating that he was “sleeping good” and would “do it again.” In the lead-up to his federal trial, Lewis and others acting on his behalf, made efforts to prevent several witnesses from testifying against him through the use of veiled and implicit threats of violence.
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, Anthony Bagnuola and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen A. Kearon are in charge of the prosecution, with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Samantha Schroder.
LAWRENCE LEWIS (also known as “L Boogs”)
Residence: Calverton, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-187 (S-1) (JS)
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office