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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Eight Members And Associates Of Violent Mount Vernon Street Gang Known As “Boss Playa Family” Or “BPF” Charged In Superseding Indictment With Racketeering Offenses

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Janet DiFiore, Westchester County District Attorney, and Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the unsealing of a Superseding Indictment charging eight members and associates of a Mount Vernon-based street gang, “Boss Playa Family” or “BPF,” with participation in a racketeering conspiracy and firearms offenses, and charging certain of those BPF members and associates with murder in aid of racketeering and narcotics conspiracy.

Six of the eight defendants were charged in the original Indictment, filed in August 2015, and have previously been taken into custody.  Today’s Superseding Indictment charges two additional BPF affiliates, SAMUEL CARLOS and ANTHONY JONES.  Both CARLOS and JONES were arrested today in Mount Vernon, New York, and will be presented this afternoon in White Plains federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “As alleged, members and associates of the BPF street gang wreaked havoc in and around Mount Vernon, engaging in shootings, attempted shootings, larcenies, and narcotics trafficking.  A scourge on Mount Vernon, the BPF gang allegedly unleashed a wave of violence in the city’s streets.  The indictment unsealed today brings charges against two more associates of the BPF gang, and serves as a reminder that the perpetrators of gang violence in Mount Vernon will not escape the reach of law enforcement.  I want to praise and thank the FBI, Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and Mount Vernon Police Department for their outstanding work in this investigation.”

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore stated:  “As evidenced by these most recent indictments, our priority has been and will continue to be enhancing the safety, security and quality of life for all of the hard working residents of the City of Mount Vernon.  We have worked continuously over the past several years to pursue members and associates of this gang and now as a result of the collaborative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement authorities these defendants are being held accountable for the years of criminal activity they now stand accused of.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez stated:  “As noted in the superseding indictment, although it may take time, the facts will come out.  Persons, such as Carlos and Jones, who have allegedly engaged in a racketeering conspiracy and firearms offenses, will have to answer for their crimes.  I would like to recognize the FBI special agents and task force officers who tirelessly work to ensure those who threaten the peace and safety of our communities are held accountable for their actions.”

According to the allegations in the Superseding Indictment[1] and other documents in the public record:

The BPF street gang was a criminal enterprise that operated principally in and around the City of Mount Vernon, New York, from at least 2007 up to and including 2014.  BPF members and associates sought to enhance the gang’s power, protect and expand its territory, and enrich its members through a wide array of criminal activities, including murder, attempted murder, larceny, arson, and the distribution of cocaine and marijuana.  BPF members and associates expressly acknowledged and celebrated their gang affiliation through various means, including by wearing clothing emblazoned with “Boss Playa Family” and “BPF,” and by creating and posting on the Internet rap videos that promoted BPF. 

One of BPF’s principal objectives was to maintain and exercise control over its territory, the area of Seventh Avenue and Sandford Boulevard in Mount Vernon.  To that end, BPF sought to assert its dominance over rival gangs, particularly the “Goonies,” a gang based in a neighboring area of Mount Vernon.  During the time period relevant to the Superseding Indictment, BPF members and associates were responsible for numerous acts of violence targeting members of the rival Goonies gang, including multiple murders and many other shootings.  In furtherance of such violence, firearms were maintained in stash locations by certain BPF members and associates for shared use by other members and associates of the gang when guns were needed to strike or retaliate against the Goonies.

The violence perpetrated by BPF turned deadly on two occasions in 2008.  On or about August 13, 2008, JAMEL UPSON, one of BPF’s lead enforcers or “shooters,” aided and abetted by others known and unknown, murdered Shomari Knox, a member of the Goonies, by shooting Knox in the area of Ninth Avenue and Third Street in Mount Vernon.  Several months later, on or about December 14, 2008, UPSON, again aided and abetted by others known and unknown, murdered another member of the Goonies, Cory Cabiness, by shooting him in the vicinity of the Ebony Gardens apartment complex in Mount Vernon.  As alleged in the Superseding Indictment, UPSON committed these murders in order to maintain and increase his position in the BPF gang.

*                      *                      *

Counts One and Two of the Superseding Indictment charge all eight defendants, JAMEL UPSON, SAMUEL CARLOS, ANTHONY JONES, ANTOINE LITTLE, TYRONE McCALLUM, PORTLAND RAMSEUR, GORHAM VALENTINE, and JASON WHITE, with a BPF racketeering conspiracy and firearms offenses in connection with that conspiracy.  As alleged, various combinations of those defendants committed, among other acts of racketeering, at least eight shootings in furtherance of the BPF conspiracy.  Counts Three and Four of the Superseding Indictment charge UPSON with murder in aid of racketeering activity and a related firearms offense in connection with the August 2008 murder of Shomari Knox, and Counts Five and Six charge UPSON with murder in aid of racketeering activity and a related firearms offense in connection with the December 2008 murder of Cory Cabiness.  Finally, Count Seven of the Superseding Indictment charges UPSON, CARLOS, RAMSEUR, and WHITE with conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana in and around BPF territory.  

Charts containing the names, ages, residences, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants are set forth below.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the Mount Vernon Police Department.  He also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for its participation and support in this ongoing investigation.    

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys George Turner and Daniel Filor are in charge of the prosecution.

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

 

United States v. Jamel Upson, et al., S2 15 Cr. 570

 

COUNT

CHARGE

DEFENDANTS

MAX. PENALTIES

1

Racketeering conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

JAMEL UPSON

SAMUEL CARLOS

ANTHONY JONES

ANTOINE LITTLE

TYRONE McCALLUM

PORTLAND RAMSEUR

GORHAM VALENTINE

JASON WHITE

UPSON: Life in prison

Other Defendants: 20 years in prison

2

Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime

18 U.S.C. § 924(c)

JAMEL UPSON

SAMUEL CARLOS

ANTHONY JONES

ANTOINE LITTLE

TYRONE McCALLUM

PORTLAND RAMSEUR

GORHAM VALENTINE

JASON WHITE

Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

3

Murder in aid of racketeering activity

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1)

JAMEL UPSON

Death penalty, or mandatory life in prison

4

Murder through use of a firearm

18 U.S.C. §§ 924(j), 924(c)(1)(A)(iii), 924(c)(1)(C)(i)

JAMEL UPSON

Death penalty, or life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison

5

Murder in aid of racketeering activity

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1)

JAMEL UPSON

Death penalty, or mandatory life in prison

6

Murder through use of a firearm

18 U.S.C. §§ 924(j), 924(c)(1)(A)(iii), 924(c)(1)(C)(i)

JAMEL UPSON

Death penalty, or life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison

7

Narcotics conspiracy

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(b)(1)(C), 841(b)(1)(D)

JAMEL UPSON

SAMUEL CARLOS

PORTLAND RAMSEUR

JASON WHITE

 

20 years in prison

 

Defendant

Age

Residence

JAMEL UPSON

31

Mount Vernon, NY

SAMUEL CARLOS

27

Mount Vernon, NY

ANTHONY JONES

26

Mount Vernon, NY

ANTOINE LITTLE

32

Bedford, TX

TYRONE McCALLUM

28

Mount Vernon, NY

PORTLAND RAMSEUR

30

Mount Vernon, NY

GORHAM VALENTINE

30

Mount Vernon, NY

JASON WHITE

32

Mount Vernon, NY

 

 

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

Press Release Number: 
16-003
Updated January 6, 2016