Skip to main content
Press Release

Chad Brown Gang Leaders Plead Guilty in Racketeering Enterprise

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RI – Four members of the Chad Brown gang in Providence have pleaded guilty in federal court to charges that they participated in a racketeering enterprise responsible for gun violence targeting rival gang members and for drug trafficking, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha.

Delacey Andrade, 28, Kendrick Johnson 30, Keishon Johnson, 32, and Montrel Johnson, 25, each pled guilty to one count of participating in the activities of a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO).

According to charging documents and information presented to the court, members and associates of the Chad Brown gang have participated in frequent acts of violence against rival East Side gang members dating back to 2013; these acts include drive-by shootings and illegal drug sales.  The most recent escalation of hostilities began in 2013 when a Chad Brown member, Jose “Hova” Sanchez, was shot to death on June 22, 2013.  In retaliation, two East Side members Ryan “Moondo” Almeida, and Nelson “Vamp” Sanchez, were shot to death in a thirty-day period from December 24, 2013, to January 24, 2014.  While the defendants in this case were not charged in federal court with those killings, they mark the beginning of the time-period charged in the RICO Count and provide context for the specific racketeering acts committed by the defendants. 

“There is no higher priority for this Office and this Department than combatting violent crime and gun violence in our communities,” said United States Attorney Cunha. “This case demonstrates that we, working hand-in-glove with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners, will bring every resource at our disposal - including the sweep and impact of a RICO prosecution, to bring the sources of violence in our communities to justice. These convictions are a testament to that cooperation- particularly the work of the Providence Police Department, ATF, and the Rhode Island Office of Attorney General, and a victory for public safety.”

“This case is an example of how this Office, working with our partners in law enforcement over the past several years, has focused our resources to target those who are driving violent crime in our state,” said Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha. “Using NIBIN technology, which allows for the digital comparison of spent ammunition casings to link firearms to multiple crime scenes, we were able to link a firearm we recovered to six additional shootings, two of which the defendants were charged with. Thanks to this investigation and prosecution, some of the worst perpetrators of violent crime in Providence will now find themselves behind bars– and for a long time. I am particularly grateful for our partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office and the strong work by federal law enforcement and the Providence Police Department in this case.”

“I commend the entire team of patrol officers, investigators and prosecutors for their relentless work regarding this case. This incredible investigation leading to criminal charges and convictions sends a very clear message to individuals who continue to be involved in violent criminal activity within this city that they will be relentlessly pursued by the Providence Police and our law enforcement partners,” said Providence Police Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr. “Moving forward we will utilize every available resource necessary in the pursuit of justice and our officers remain involved in many cases surrounding senseless gun violence and retaliation. Investigations of the magnitude are complicated and time consuming but paramount in keeping our neighborhoods safe. We will continue to target this violent criminal activity, as evidenced by the high volume of firearms we continue to seize, with no jurisdictional boundaries.”

“This investigation is an example of ATF’s dedication to working with our state, local and federal partners in identifying, targeting, and investigating violent criminals who are involved in shootings and other violent crimes, and who prey upon innocent citizens and lessen the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge James M. Ferguson. “Our neighborhoods deserve to exist without fear and intimidation inflicted by all violent drug gangs. We will continue to work with our partners at the Providence Police to impact violent crime that impacts the quality of life in some Providence neighborhoods.”

The RICO count brought in this Project Safe Neighborhoods Providence Police and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigation was structured around four shootings in 2016 and 2017, each of which involved one or more of the defendants:

  • Delacey Andrade, Montrel Johnson and Keishon Johnson were charged with the attempted murder of an East Side gang member on October 22, 2016, in a drive-by shooting. The shooting occurred after Montrel Johnson and the East Side gang member had a confrontation inside the Walmart on Silver Spring Street in Providence. According to information provided to the court, video surveillance, witness testimony, cell phone location data, and firearm forensic examinations establish that Andrade, Keishon Johnson and Montrel Johnson were in a gold Nissan Maxima that fired multiple gunshots into the victim’s car, hitting the victim three times and causing life threatening injuries. The shooting occurred on the two-year anniversary of a Chad Brown gang member’s shooting death, and shortly after the murder trial of the East Side gang members charged with his killing.          
  • Later in the evening of October 22, 2016, video surveillance, cell phone location data, and firearm forensic examinations establish that Andrade and Keishon Johnson were in the same gold Nissan Maxima on Appian Street in Providence when they fired multiple gunshots into a vehicle driven by a woman they mistakenly identified as East Side rivals. Earlier that week, Kendrick Johnson had sent Andrade a text to be on the lookout for a similar vehicle containing East Side members who had driven through Chad Brown.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • On June 19, 2017, Andrade and Kendrick Johnson were involved in a gun battle with East Side gang members outside the Tomato City Pizza restaurant on Douglas Avenue in Providence. East Side gang members shot at the residence of Montrel Johnson in Chad Brown earlier that day; Keishon Johnson sent a text identifying the shooter’s vehicle to Andrade.  Andrade and Kendrick Johnson then encountered the vehicle outside Tomato City and both sides exchanged gunfire.  Andrade and Kendrick Johnson crashed their vehicle and fled the scene.  Investigation identified Andrade’s DNA on the gun found at the scene and Kendrick Johnson’s DNA on the steering wheel of the vehicle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  • On August 19, 2017, Keishon Johnson and two other Chad Brown members were arrested by Providence Police following a drive-by shooting on Hendrick Street in Providence. Expelled shell casings found at the scene as well as two firearms later recovered were ballistically matched.  Subsequent investigation established that one of the two firearms, a .40 caliber silver Beretta handgun, was used in the three of the four shootings underlying the RICO count (Walmart, Appian and Hendrick).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
  • In addition, the evidence established that Kendrick Johnson and Andrade engaged in illegal drug and liquor sales, including distributing cocaine and marijuana.                                                                                                
  • The investigation also established Keishon Johnson’s role in a marijuana distribution conspiracy involving Chad Brown members.

 

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This PSN case is being prosecuted jointly in federal court by Assistant United States Attorneys Paul F. Daly, Jr., and John P. McAdams, and Special Assistant United States Attorney James Baum of the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office.

United States Attorney Cunha recognizes and thanks the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the member agencies of the ATF Task Force; the Providence, Pawtucket  and North Providence Police Departments; the Rhode Island State Police; the Rhode Island Department of Corrections; and the United States Marshals Service for their close collaboration, support, and ongoing efforts in the investigation.

###

 

Contact

Jim Martin
(401) 709-5357

Updated March 3, 2022

Topic
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 22-38