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Press Release

‘Dirty Block’ Gang Leader Sentenced To Life In Prison For Drug Conspiracy And Weapons Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

CAMDEN, N.J. – The leader of a criminal street gang that used threats, intimidation and violence to maintain control of the illegal drug trade in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was sentenced today to life in prison for drug conspiracy and weapons charges, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.                                         

Mykal Derry, a/k/a “Koose,” 35, of Atlantic City, was previously convicted of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, distributing heroin, maintaining a place for the purposes of storing and distributing heroin, possessing, brandishing and discharging firearms in furtherance of the drug conspiracy and using a communications device in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Mykal Derry was convicted following a six-week trial before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman, who imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence presented at trial:

Mykal Derry was the leader of the gang known as “Dirty Block,” a/k/a “Crime Fam,” “,” or “3.6,” which operated in a geographic area of Atlantic City and controlled the lucrative drug trafficking area of the Stanley Holmes public housing complex, Brown’s Park and the surrounding area.

 The evidence showed that Derry and other members of the group routinely carried loaded handguns and engaged in at least eight drug related shootings between October 2010 and February 2013, including the shooting of a teenager on April 17, 2011, which left the teenager paralyzed. The trial testimony of a cooperating witness established that Derry had his cousin shoot the teenager because he was cooperating with police in an earlier case involving Derry and other drug associates’ assault of the teenager in October 2010.

Additional testimony established that Mykal Derry and his brother, Malik Derry, a/k/a “Lik,” 24, also of Atlantic City, planned and carried out the shooting murder of a rival drug dealer in Atlantic City on the evening of Feb. 10, 2013. Mykal Derry told members of his gang that he wanted them to “put him down” (referring to an order to shoot the rival dealer) when they saw him. Malik Derry shot the victim in the head from close range while riding a bicycle past him as the victim stood in front of an Atlantic City restaurant.

The murder weapon, a stolen .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun, was later recovered from the drop ceiling in an apartment located on Green Street in Atlantic City, which, at the time, was shared by Mykal Derry and his girlfriend, Kimberly Spellman, 34, of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Atlantic City police detectives also found 18 “bricks” of heroin (approximately 900 individual packets of heroin) and drug packaging materials inside the apartment.

The evidence presented by the government at trial consisted of recordings of hundreds of telephone calls and text messages between Mykal Derry and over twenty other members of the drug gang, physical evidence including the recovery of twenty firearms, ballistics evidence from shooting scenes, crime scene evidence from eight different shooting scenes in Atlantic City, recovery of substantial quantities of heroin and drug packaging materials, approximately $40,000 in drug proceeds, the testimony of dozens of FBI agents and Atlantic City police detectives, the testimony of ballistics experts, a narcotics expert, and the testimony of two cooperating witnesses who had previously pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking offenses.

Malik Derry still awaits sentencing after being convicted at trial of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, possessing and discharging firearms in furtherance of the conspiracy and using a communications device in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  Spellman previously pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging her with conspiracy to distribute heroin and awaits sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Newark Division, Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel; the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor James P. McClain; the Atlantic City Police Department, under the direction of Chief Henry White; and the South Jersey Safe Streets Violent Incident and Gang (Safe Streets) Task Force, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

He also thanked the N.J. State Police, the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, the Northfield Police Department, the Vineland Police Department, the Brigantine Police Department, and the Millville Police Department for their contributions.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Askin and Justin Danilewitz of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmund Mallqui-Burgos of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.

Defense Counsel: Emmett Madden Esq., Philadelphia

Updated January 7, 2016

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 16-010