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Justice News

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Yonkers Gang Leader Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Murder, Racketeering, And Narcotics Crimes

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DA’QUAN JOHNSON was sentenced on Friday, May 20, 2016, in White Plains federal court to a prison term of 30 years for crimes committed as part of a Yonkers-based street gang, the “Grimy Motherfuckers” (“GMF”), including the murder of Tyrone Arthur on December 27, 2013.  JOHNSON pled guilty on January 7, 2016, to participating in the GMF racketeering conspiracy and to conspiring to murder rival gang members, resulting in the death of Arthur.  JOHNSON pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel, who imposed Friday’s sentence.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated:  “Da’Quan Johnson was a leader of a violent, vicious street gang that terrorized the streets of southwest Yonkers with shootings, assaults, and drug dealing.  On December 27, 2013, Johnson and his fellow gang members participated in a shooting that resulted in the senseless murder of an innocent man, Tyrone Arthur.  Thanks to the hard work of the FBI and Yonkers Police Department, Johnson and the other members of GMF have been brought to justice.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in related court proceedings:

GMF, formed in or about 2008, was based in the Schlobohm Housing Project.  GMF was initially aligned with the Strip Boyz, a different gang likewise based in the Schlobohm Housing Project.  Up until late June and early July 2012, when 20 members of the Strip Boyz were arrested and charged with narcotics and firearms offenses, GMF and the Strip Boyz together controlled crack cocaine and marijuana distribution in and around the Schlobohm Housing Project, including an area of Palisade Avenue known as the “Strip.”

Following the 2012 arrests of the Strip Boyz, GMF members continued to engage in acts of violence and intimidation to preserve GMF’s dominance within the Schlobohm Housing Project and the surrounding areas.  Members of GMF worked together to distribute narcotics, but above all, they were aligned in their disputes with rival gangs in southwest Yonkers.  GMF members had disputes with gang members from various nearby neighborhoods, including Cottage Place Gardens, Warburton Avenue, Highland Avenue, and Riverdale Avenue.  These disputes resulted in a number of violent incidents among the gangs, including assaults, stabbings, and shootings.

From approximately 2008 to 2014, GMF was engaged in a violent dispute with members of a rival gang from Highland Avenue known as “Highland.”  This dispute resulted in a lethal cycle of shootings and acts of violence.  The dispute culminated on the evening of December 27, 2013, when a shooting occurred in the vicinity of Palisade Avenue and Elm Street in Yonkers, which was territory controlled by GMF.  After the shooting, members of GMF received information that members of Highland were responsible for the shooting.  The same night, DA’QUAN JOHNSON obtained a loaded firearm and traveled with other GMF members to territory controlled by Highland with the intent of retaliating.  A GMF member then shot into a crowd that had congregated for a candlelight vigil at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Jackson Street.  One of the bullets hit Tyrone Arthur in the chest, killing him.

On July 16, 2014, a grand jury returned an indictment charging JOHNSON and two other defendants in connection with the murder of Tyrone Arthur.  On December 10, 2014, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging thirteen members and associates of GMF – including the initial three – with the same offenses as the original indictment, as well as additional racketeering, narcotics, and firearms offenses.  To date, all but one of the remaining defendants have pled guilty in satisfaction of the charges in the superseding indictment.

DA’QUAN JOHNSON, 25, of Yonkers, New York, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on the racketeering conspiracy and 10 years in prison on the murder conspiracy, to run consecutively, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Westchester Violent Crimes Task Force, which comprises agents and detectives of the FBI, United States Probation, the City of Yonkers Police Department, the City of Peekskill Police Department, the New York City Police Department, the Westchester County Police, and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Hartman and Douglas Zolkind are in charge of the prosecution.


Updated May 23, 2016