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Press Release

Bronx Man Charged With 2017 Murder Of Joshua Lopez

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

Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Peter C. Fitzhugh, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and Dermot Shea, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), today announced a Superseding Indictment in United States v. Scales, et al. 19 Cr. 96 (JSR).  In the initial indictment, unsealed on February 21, 2019, defendant SYDNEY SCALES, a/k/a “Sid,” a/k/a “Moe Black,” was charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire, as well as narcotics and firearms offenses.  A second defendant on the Indictment, ERNEST HORGE, a/k/a “Ern,” a/k/a “Mac,” was charged with narcotics and firearms offenses.  In the Superseding Indictment, SCALES is charged with causing another person to shoot at rival drug dealers on June 9, 2017, in the vicinity of 1135 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, New York, causing the death of Joshua Lopez.  SCALES and HORGE are also charged in the Superseding Indictment with engaging in multiple specific drug sales between November 2018 and February 2019, in addition to the narcotics conspiracy charged in the initial indictment.  The case is proceeding before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged in the Superseding Indictment, Sydney Scales was responsible for the murder of Joshua Lopez.  Thanks to the outstanding work of our law enforcement partners at HSI and the NYPD, Scales is now charged in federal court for this terrible crime.”

HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said:  “The murder of a bystander during a drug-related shooting is a disturbing crime against the people of this City.  Scales and Horge are charged with serious narcotics and firearms offenses that caused great harm the community, and ultimately resulted in the tragic loss of a young man’s life.  HSI and its law enforcement partners remain committed to ridding our streets of armed and violent drug traffickers, and to doing justice for victims of such senseless violence.”

According to the allegations in the Superseding Indictment[1]:

Between in or about 2016 and in or about 2019, SCALES and HORGE participated in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana in the Bronx and elsewhere.  SCALES and HORGE also used, carried, and possessed firearms, which were brandished and discharged, in connection with the narcotics conspiracy, and aided and abetted such firearms offenses.  In addition, in or about June 2017, SCALES conspired to commit murder for hire, agreeing to compensate another individual in return for locating and killing at least one rival drug dealer.  On the night of June 9, 2017, SCALES caused another person to shoot at rival drug dealers, but the shooter missed the targets and hit Joshua Lopez, causing Lopez’s death. 

SCALES, 41, and HORGE, 50, face maximum sentences of life in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of HSI and the NYPD.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Frank Balsamello, Sarah Krissoff, and Mathew Andrews are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment, and the description of the Superseding Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.


James Margolin, Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated November 11, 2020

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 20-257