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Press Release

Members of Brooklyn-Based “Bully Gang” Convicted of Racketeering, Murder and Gang-Related Crimes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendants Committed Numerous Acts of Violence, Including Murder and Shootings of Rivals, and Trafficked Narcotics at Rikers Island and along the East Coast

On Thursday and today, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted Moeleek Harrell, Derrick Ayers, Franklin Gillespie and Anthony Kennedy on 21 counts of an eighth superseding indictment charging them variously with racketeering, murder, murder conspiracy, robbery, drug offenses, money laundering and bribery of state correction officers.  The defendants are members of a violent Brooklyn-based street gang known as the “Bully Gang,” which operated and committed crimes in and around Bedford Stuyvesant with a headquarters located at 1625 Fulton Street.  Harrell was one of the founders and the leader of the Bully Gang; Ayers was a high-ranking member; Kennedy was a longstanding member; and Gillespie was a violent enforcer for the gang.  Today’s verdicts followed a 13-week trial before United States District Judge Brian M. Cogan.  When sentenced, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of life in prison and mandatory minimum sentences ranging from 15 to 55 years.

 Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Bryan Miller, Special Agent-in-Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York Field Division (ATF), Edward A. Caban, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), and Jocelyn Strauber, Commissioner, New York City Department of Investigation (DOI), announced the verdict.

“With today’s convictions, the leadership of the Bully Gang has been taken down and their criminal enterprise is a shell of the violent crew that wreaked havoc on Bedford Stuyvesant, other parts of New York City and the Eastern Seaboard with murder, broad daylight shootings, robberies, arsons, drug trafficking and bribery of correction officers at Rikers Island to facilitate a drug trafficking scheme,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “They used force and violence against rivals, terrorized the surrounding communities and enriched themselves and their members with the illicit proceeds of their criminal activities.  These lawless, so-called ‘Bullies’ have been held responsible for their crimes thanks to the outstanding work by law enforcement agents and detectives who, together with our excellent prosecutors, brought this comprehensive investigation to a successful conclusion.”

“These convictions put an end to the reign of terror committed by this gang, shattering the myth that criminals can commit atrocious acts without consequence. This is the result of a multi-year investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies spanning multiple jurisdictions.  I commend our law enforcement partners—NYPD, NYC Department of Investigations, and our law enforcement partners in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine and prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office—for their relentless efforts in making our communities safer,” stated ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Miller. “In particular, I am proud of the men and women of ATF NY and the ATF/NYPD Joint Firearms Task Force, who fight every day to prevent violence in any form, and are committed to dismantling and disarming violent gangs that plague our streets.  ATF once again reaffirms its unwavering commitment to protecting the public from violent offenders.”

“These convictions represent the culmination of an extensive investigation combined with a vigorous prosecution,” stated NYPD Commissioner Caban.  “The stakes could not have been higher because these gang members were responsible for an assortment of despicable crimes, including murder, robbery, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and bribery.  A powerful message has been sent:  Our city will not tolerate such criminal activity, and the NYPD and our law enforcement partners will keep working tirelessly to identify and investigate these enterprises and bring the individuals involved to justice.”

DOI Commissioner Strauber stated: “The violence and drug trafficking in which these defendants engaged had far-reaching effects, including compromising the security of the City’s jails through the bribery of City correction officers used to traffic drugs from gang members to inmates on Rikers Island.  I thank the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, the ATF and the NYPD for their partnership on this significant investigation and their commitment to bring to justice those who would jeopardize the safety of our communities through gang violence.”


Ayers was convicted of murdering Jonathan Jackson, an associate of the rival “Stukes Crew” gang, at a gender reveal party for Harrell’s child on March 3, 2018, in Brooklyn.  Gillespie was convicted of conspiring to murder Mike Hawley in April 2020 to prevent him from informing authorities about the murder of Paul Hoilett in Brooklyn on April 11, 2020.  Hawley was murdered in Queens four days later, on April 15, 2020.

Ayers and Harrell were convicted of conspiring to murder the leader of the Stukes Crew, whom they stalked by aggregating information from public databases, including the locations where their cars were ticketed.  That stalking led to at least three occasions in 2017 and 2018, when the gang members shot at their rivals and injured some of them.

Ayers and Harrell were convicted of conspiring to murder Chris King, who had previously killed a Bully Gang member.  King was stalked, including having his court appearances tracked, and was ultimately shot outside a Queens restaurant.  A woman who was with King at the time was also wounded.  Both survived their injuries.

Finally, Harrell, Ayers, Gillespie and Kennedy were convicted of illegal possession, brandishing and discharge of firearms.


Harrell and Kennedy were convicted of conspiring to smuggle drugs into Rikers Island from at least 2019 until 2021.  During that time, members of the Bully Gang arranged for papers and comic books soaked in synthetic cannabinoids, also known as “K2,” to be mailed to inmates at Rikers, smuggled in by third parties, including correction officers and sold to inmates.  Once inmates received the K2-soaked papers, they sold smaller quantities to other inmates at a substantial profit.

Harrell, Ayers, Kennedy and Gillespie were convicted of a separate, years-long scheme to transport large quantities of drugs, including cocaine base, heroin and fentanyl, from New York and New Jersey to Maine, where members and associates of the Bully Gang sold the drugs out of stash houses.  The narcotics were transported in vehicles equipped with concealed compartments, also called “traps,” that were professionally installed.  Ayers was also convicted of running numerous “stash houses” in Maine, from which his underlings sold drugs on behalf of the conspiracy. 


Harrell and Kennedy were convicted of laundering the illicit proceeds from the Rikers drug sales by transferring thousands of dollars each month into CashApp accounts and making wire transfers to co-conspirators through intermediaries.  A portion of this money was used to purchase more K2 and bribe correction officers at Rikers.

Also, Harrell and Ayers were convicted of laundering the illicit proceeds from the lucrative East Coast drug trafficking scheme.  Harrell, Ayers and their co-conspirators purchased high-value assets, including expensive jewelry and vehicles.  They also disguised the proceeds of the scheme by having co-conspirators, some of whom had legitimate jobs, use the cash to make ostensibly legitimate purchases that were actually for the benefit of Harrell and Ayers. 


Harrell and Kennedy were convicted of participating in the Rikers Island drug trafficking scheme by bribing correction officers at Rikers.  Harrell’s leadership of the gang continued even after his detention at Rikers, where he led a drug trafficking, bribery and money laundering scheme responsible for smuggling drugs into the jail through the use of co-conspirators and the payment of bribes to correction officers.  


Gillespie was convicted of robberies on consecutive days in August 2020, in downtown Manhattan.  Gillespie and others in the Bully Gang pointed firearms, including a large Mac-10-style firearm, at their victims while demanding their money, jewelry and shopping bags.  After the robberies, Gillespie was arrested with some of the same firearms. 

* * * * *

The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict with respect to several remaining counts of the eighth superseding indictment, which charged Ayers with causing Jackson’s death through the use of a firearm; Gillespie with causing Hoilett’s death through the use of a firearm and illegally possessing, brandishing and discharging a firearm in connection with that death; and Gillespie and Kennedy with causing Hawley’s death through the use of a firearm and illegally possessing, brandishing and discharging a firearm in connection with that death.  A mistrial was declared as to those counts. The Office intends to retry the defendants on those counts that the jury was unable to reach a verdict.  Those charges are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

Since 2020, 53 members and associates of the Bully Gang have been publicly charged with a variety of crimes in connection with this investigation, and 49 have been convicted.  Three defendants are awaiting trial, and one is a fugitive.          

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section and Public Integrity Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Drew G. Rolle, Lindsey R. Oken, Joy Lurinsky and Victor Zapana are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Lead Legal Administrative Specialist Samantha E. Ward and Paralegal Specialists Emily Moosher and William Daniels, as well as Intelligence Analyst Eungee Hwang and a number of EDNY Criminal Investigators and Special Agents.

The Defendants:

DERRICK AYERS (also known as “Dee” and “Mel”)
Age:  37
Rahway, New Jersey

MOELEEK HARRELL (also known as “Moe Money”)
Age:  34
Brooklyn, New York

FRANKLIN GILLESPIE (also known as “Spazz” and “Frankie Gino”)
Age:  33
Newark, New Jersey

ANTHONY KENNEDY (also known as “Biggie”)
Age:  38
Queens, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 20-CR-239 (BMC)


John Marzulli
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated June 18, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime