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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 6, 2018

Nine Members of a Violent Drug Crew Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy and Four Murders

The “Bushwick Crew” Allegedly Committed Multiple Acts of Violence to Further Their Drug Distribution Operations in Brooklyn and Queens

A 19-count superseding indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging five new defendants, and four previously charged defendants, for their participation in a drug-trafficking enterprise based in Brooklyn and Queens, referred to in the indictment as the “Bushwick Crew.”  Eight defendants are charged with racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion conspiracy and heroin distribution conspiracy, and a ninth defendant is charged with murder in aid of racketeering. 

Maurice Brown, Jaquan Cooper and Tyquan Griem were arrested yesterday and today and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo at the Brooklyn federal courthouse.  Norman Marrero was arraigned earlier today before United States Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson at the federal courthouse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and ordered detained.  Lance Goodwin was arrested today and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Howell at the federal courthouse in Asheville, North Carolina.  

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), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.     

“As alleged, the defendants were part of a violent crew that beat, tortured and killed in furtherance of their heroin trafficking,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “These charges demonstrate the commitment by this Office and our law enforcement partners to rid our community of the extreme violence associated with drug dealing.”  Mr. Donoghue expressed his appreciation to the New York Metropolitan Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of FBI special agents and NYPD detectives, for their participation and assistance in the investigation.

“Not only are these gang members pushing deadly drugs in our most vulnerable communities, they’re allegedly killing rivals and bystanders in their attempts to maintain power and control,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “We’ve stated before the FBI Metro Safe Streets Task Force will continue our pursuit of the leadership in these gangs, and stop their violent and illegal trafficking enterprise before more and more people die from either addiction or at the hands of the gang members.”

“The behavior this crew engaged in will never be tolerated by New Yorkers, and I thank our federal partners at the FBI and the Eastern District for strengthening the NYPD’s efforts to rid our streets of these criminals,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill.  “We will remain relentless in our mission to dismantle groups like this by precisely focusing on the drivers of violence in our city, and we will see their cases through to appropriate and meaningful prison sentences – those who live and work in all of our neighborhoods deserve nothing less.”

As alleged in the superseding indictment and court filings by the government,

the Bushwick Crew was involved in a large-scale heroin trafficking organization with Mexican cartel connections.  Various members of the crew served as enforcers to protect its interests by arming themselves to escort drug traffickers, forcibly collecting drug debts and committing acts of violence against anyone who interfered with the crew’s operations or offended its members.  The crimes alleged include:

Murder of Donte Williams

On August 18, 2012, defendant Lance Goodwin and other members of the crew were involved in a street altercation in Bushwick.  During the fight, Goodwin fatally shot Donte Williams in the stomach to advance his own standing within the crew.  When arrested one week later, Goodwin was carrying the murder weapon.

Murders of Gary Lopez and Rudy Superville 

On March 5, 2013, Gary Lopez and Rudy Superville attempted to rob one of the Bushwick Crew’s main heroin distributors at the distributor’s apartment.  Lopez and Superville were shot and wounded by the distributor.  Defendants Maurice Brown, Peter Vasquez, Luis Lopez, Jason Pantojas and his brother Miguel Pantojas were summoned by the distributor to the apartment where they beat and tortured Gary Lopez and Superville.  Gary Lopez called 911 to plead for help and was shot dead by Brown.  Superville attempted to flee the apartment and was fatally stabbed by Jason Pantojas.  The bodies were doused with bleach and ammonia, wrapped in plastic and driven to a field in Queens by defendants Brown, Luis Lopez and Vasquez, as well as other crew members.  At the field, the bodies were soaked with gasoline and ignited.

Murder of Kelvin Johnson

On September 20, 2014, defendant Tyquan Griem and the above-mentioned heroin distributor went to a nightclub in Queens where a fight broke out.  Griem retrieved a handgun stashed in a secret trap in the distributor’s car and opened fire, killing Kelvin Johnson.

Other Violent Crimes

Defendant Norman Marrero is charged with participating in the shooting of a drug customer to extort him for a drug debt owed to the Bushwick Crew.  Defendant Jaquan Cooper is charged with committing a gunpoint robbery at a barbershop in Queens as customers were getting their hair cut. 

The charges in the superseding indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

If convicted of the murder charges, defendants Brown, Goodwin, Griem, Lopez, Jason Pantojas, Miguel Pantojas and Vasquez face mandatory life sentences.  If convicted of the drug and gun-related charges, defendants Cooper and Marrero face mandatory minimum sentences of 17 years’ and 20 years’ imprisonment, respectively, and a maximum of life imprisonment.

The superseding indictment is the product of an ongoing investigation into gang and narcotics-related violence in Brooklyn and Queens, among other locations, which has resulted in the filing of federal narcotics-and weapons-related charges in this district against more than 25 individuals in the past three years. 

This case is also the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Lindsay K. Gerdes, Jennifer M. Sasso and Andrey Spektor are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance provided by Assistant United States Attorney Brian D. Morris of the Office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit. 

The New Defendants:

MAURICE BROWN (also known as “Spaz”)
Age: 27
Brooklyn, New York

JAQUAN COOPER (also known as “J-Gunna”)
Age: 30
Brooklyn, New York

LANCE GOODWIN (also known as “Ty Mucka”)
Age: 29
Brooklyn, New York

TYQUAN GRIEM (also known as “Ty Goon”)
Age: 28
Brooklyn, New York

NORMAN MARRERO (also known as “Tito”)
Age: 35
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Previously Charged Defendants Facing New Charges:

LUIS LOPEZ (also known as “Lou”)
Age: 36
Brooklyn, New York

JASON PANTOJAS (also known as “Tuli”)
Age: 30
Brooklyn, New York

MIGUEL PANTOJAS (also known as “Miggs”)
Age: 31
Brooklyn, New York

PETER VASQUEZ (also known as “Pete”)
Age: 31
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No.  17-CR-390 (S-3) (RJD)

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
John Marzulli Tyler Daniels United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6034
Updated September 6, 2018