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"The gangs of today will be the terrorists of tomorrow"

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  • Fri, April 22, 2016 8:36 AM | Craig

    A Brooklyn man who authorities described as a member of the Sex, Money, Murder street gang was sentenced to 15 years in state prison Friday for firing a handgun at a woman in Midtown Kingston in October 2014.

    Ulster County Judge Donald Williams sentenced Riis “Flea” Silver, 22, to the maximum sentence allowed by law, saying that despite the advantages of a supportive well-educated family, God-given intelligence and athletic prowess and being father to “a beautiful child,” Silver chose a life of violent crime and gang involvement.

    “I see people every day in this court who don’t have those gifts ... those God-given grants of intelligence, family, athleticism and a child,” said Williams. “That makes what you did more tragic. You have no excuse for your behavior.”

    After a three-day trial in Ulster County Court, Silver was convicted of two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment.

    Authorities said Silver fired seven shots from a .40-caliber semiautomatic weapon at the vehicle of a woman with whom he had had a relationship. Although the woman wasn’t struck, the vehicle she was driving was hit five times.

    The sentencing followed a hearing during which Assistant Public Defender MariAnn Connolly tried to convince Williams that Silver was not a gang member.

    Asked by Williams what Silver’s “SMM” tattoo symbolized, Connolly, after conferring with her client, said “Strength, Morality, Motivation.” Testimony during trial was that the tattoo stood for Sex, “Money, Murder.”

    Williams also asked what the Silver’s five-pointed crown tattoo signified. Although the tattoo is known to be the symbol of the Latin Kings street gang, Connolly said her client indicated it stood for “King of Basketball. King of Brooklyn.

    Connolly also said Silver didn’t recall filing a form with the Ulster County Jail indicating that he was affiliated with the Bloods.

    Williams, though wasn’t buying it.

    “You are clearly a member of the Sex, Money, Murder subset of the Bloods street gang,” said Williams.

    He said Silver fired at the woman because “she was dissing you in front of your friends, probably your fellow gang members.”

    He said the woman confronted Silver about stealing money that she had set aside for rent and “she embarrassed you, dissed you, humiliated you and your street cred.”

    William said that when Silver was asked why he shot at the woman, Silver responded, “it’s a cold world.”

    “It’s a cold world, sir, and you’re going to get a real flavor of that today,” Williams said.

    On July 15, 2015, Silver pleaded guilty in Delaware to heroin sales and weapons possession. He was serving a four-year sentence on those charges when he was extradited to New York in September to face charges in Kingston.

  • Thu, March 10, 2016 10:12 PM | Anonymous  

    Brandon Haugabook died because of a bloody gang feud.

    It was July of 2009, at the corner of Townsend Street and Paderewski Drive, and Haugabook, only 19 at the time, was in the company of a female friend.

    The man who murdered him, a member of the now dismantled Johnny Rounds Gang, said he targeted Haugabook because he considered him a rival gang member.

    “I made some bad decisions in life,” DeMario Stewert told U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.

    Skretny sentenced Stewert to 18 years in prison Thursday.

    At the time of Haugabook’s murder, Stewert and the rest of the Rounds Crew were feuding with a rival gang, LRGP, located just a few blocks away in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

    Stewert pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy but, as part of his plea deal, admitted shooting and killing Haugabook. He said he considered Haugabook a member of LRGP and shot him because of his affiliation with the rival gang.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti said Stewert came from a strong supportive family and yet turned to a life on the streets and a gang that eventually led him into a life of drug dealing and violence.

    “That’s the sad part of this case," Violanti said.

    Investigators from the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force say the Rounds Crew controlled marijuana sales in the neighborhood for years and used violence to protect its turf from rival drug dealers.

    Johnny Rounds, 36, the acknowledged leader of the East Side gang, has admitted taking part in three murders and will face a recommended sentence of up to 25 years in prison when Skretny sentences him.

  • Thu, November 05, 2015 7:50 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)

     BUFFALO, NY: Two young men were killed in a hail of gunfire while sitting in a parked car on Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo police said.

    “One of the victims from last night’s homicide suffered 11 gunshot wounds and was still able to get out of the car and ask for help,” a police source said.

    A passer-by drove Norman Fullenweider, 19, of Buffalo to Erie County Medical Center, where he died Saturday, police said.

    Jermaine Moss, 21, of Buffalo was found dead in the parked car.

    The killings marked the third and fourth homicides in nine days related to conflicts among street gangs, police said. The names of the victims were released late Saturday.

    What is known is that Fullenweider and Moss were parked in a car in the 1200 block of Fillmore Avenue and one or more gunmen opened fire on them at about 6:10 p.m., police said.

    “We believe they are gang members and this was gang-related,” a second police source said.

    “They were sitting in a Pontiac Grand Am when they were shot. One of them died at the scene and the other, who suffered multiple gunshots, died later.”

    A week ago Thursday, 29-year-old Jonathan Jones was killed in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

    Police arrested 15-year-old Avonte Works on Monday and charged him with second-degree murder for that killing.

    Police said the teen shot Jones at 8:15 p.m. Oct. 22 in a parking lot in an area of Fillmore Avenue and Peckham Street.

    Works’ family and acquaintances said he was defending himself against area gang members who were attacking him.

    Authorities continue to investigate the killing, but have confirmed the incident was gang-related.

    Last Monday afternoon, Joseph Daniels, 18, was shot at Broadway and Woltz. He was later pronounced dead at ECMC. A second person shot with Daniels was later released from the hospital. Police are still looking for that killer.

    As for the latest shooting, homicide detectives continue to search for the killer or killers. Anyone with information can call the police confidential tip line at 847-2255.

  • Thu, November 05, 2015 7:48 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)

     A Valley Stream man has been arrested in the April shooting deaths of two men outside the funeral of a Brooklyn gang member.

    Two funeral-goers died and four others were wounded in the shootout, which officials said was sparked by a 20-year-old beef between mourners at the Emmanuel Church of God on Flatbush Avenue near Foster Avenue in Kensington.

    Mourners had gathered for the funeral of José “Cheo” Robles, a member of the Bloods gang, law-enforcement sources said at the time.

    Celestine allegedly sparked the violence by confronting Sharieff Clayton, 40, who was sent to jail for manslaughter in 1994, sources told The Post.

    Clayton shot back, “You better get out of here; there’s going to be trouble!”

    Celestine then allegedly left the church and returned in a silver car, fatally pumping a bullet in Clayton’s abdomen, police sources said.

    Ronald Murphy, 44, of Brooklyn dove in front of his wife, Taisha, to shield her from the flying bullets — and was fatally struck in the chest, law-enforcement sources said.

    Murphy had not been an intended target, officials said.

    Two other men and two women were wounded in the gunplay.

    One of the women was Murphy’s wife, despite her husband’s heroics, law-enforcement sources said.

    Still, he may have saved her from more serious injuries, they said.olice on Friday arrested Pierre Celestine, 35, charging him with murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

  • Thu, November 05, 2015 7:47 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)

     BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After two more fatalities from gun violence in Buffalo which claimed the lives of two young men, ages 19 and 21, community members are speaking out about increasing tensions between numerous neighborhood gangs.

    “We now have a very good insight of what’s about to happen,” said Pastor James Giles, the coordinator for the Buffalo Peacemakers. “It doesn’t look good. It’s very ugly.”

    The Buffalo Peacemakers are a community group that goes out into neighborhoods, establishing relationships with members and hoping to curb violence and crime.

    “It saddens us that we couldn’t muster whatever is required to get to them; to save them,” said Pastor Giles about the most recent group of young victims. He recalls looking into the eyes of each victim who has died in the last few weeks; remembering moments he shared with them.

    Pastor Giles says there are around 35 murders that have happened in Buffalo so far this year, a number that is slightly down from this time last year.

    He has a real fear though that four of the most recent murders are all connected.

    “You’re seeing some of the retaliations from some of that stuff that’s being done,” said Pastor Giles who adds that these young men involved in the gangs are looking for money and turning to robbing each other which is part of the reason tension is running high right now.

    He said the only way to curb that rising tension is to get into the neighborhoods and meet with these members. The hard part is, according to Pastor Giles, these gangs members are getting younger and younger, now in the early teens, and the pastor said sometimes it is too late to build strong relationships with them because they’re already getting into trouble.

    “If we had enough resources, we could address the problems were having,” said Pastor Giles. “The violence is an outcry of something else.”

    The Peacemaker coordinator said all of these connected murders happening to young men he knows in neighborhoods he frequents concerns and saddens him and everyone in these communities.

    “They’re [these gang members] not bad,” said Pastor Giles. “They’re just misguided, misdirected and have this very poor sense of morality when it comes to taking a life. In some cases, it’s like a game to some of them. But this isn’t a game where people are getting up after they’re getting blasted.”

  • Sat, October 10, 2015 1:27 PM | NYGIA (Administrator)

    The bloody rivalry between Buffalo’s 7th and 10th Street gangs is sending two more gang members to prison.

    Kasiem Williams, 26, a former 7th Street Gang member, admitted taking part in several gang shootings, including the murder of Virgil Page, as part of a plea deal this week. Williams shot and killed Page on 19th Street in June of 2010.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi said Page’s murder was part of a “favor for a favor” deal that another 7th Street member made with Efrain “Cheko” Hidalgo, leader of the 7th Street Gang.

    In return, 7th Street member Leslie Cunningham, 44, promised to kill two rival 10th Street members. Cunningham, who claims he was also targeted for murder, admitted Thursday to shooting at two rival gang members and wounding one of them during a June 2010 incident at a corner store on Virginia Street.

    As part of a plea agreement accepted by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, Cunningham pleaded guilty to attempted murder in aid of racketeering.

    Williams pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge.

  • Sat, October 10, 2015 1:22 PM | NYGIA (Administrator)

    A Rochester man pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday in connection with a bloody Buffalo gang war.

    Leslie Cunningham, 44, pleaded guilty to attempted murder in aid of racketeering, a felony, in front of U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. The charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

    Kasiem Williams, 26, of Buffalo and Sammy Ortiz, 28, of Buffalo each pleaded guilty to racketeering, or RICO, conspiracy. Both were members of Buffalo's 7th Street Gang.

    Among other acts of violence, Williams shot and killed Virgil Page in June 2010 in Buffalo. Page was a drug rival of Cunningham.

    In return, Cunningham promised to kill two rival 10th Street Gang members. He admitted to shooting at two and wounding one of them during a June 2010 shooting on Virginia Street in Buffalo.

    Arcara will sentence Cunningham at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 3, 2016.

    A total of 18 defendants have been charged in this case and 12 have been convicted.


  • Sat, October 10, 2015 1:22 PM | NYGIA (Administrator)


    A reputed MS-13 street gang member wanted for allegedly killing a teenager in Roosevelt 13 years ago was apprehended this spring after he fled the country, Nassau County prosecutors said.

    Wuilmer “Chicky” Mendosa was arrested May 5 when he tried to re-enter the country on a flight from a flight from El Salvador to Texas. He was extradited to Long Island this week, where he was indicted on a charge of second-degree murder.

    “This defendant fled the country immediately after the crime and now, after nearly 13 years, we have finally have him back in Nassau County, where he is going to face justice,” said Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.

    Prosecutors said the 32-year-old suspect shot Johnathan Harris, who had just celebrated his 18th birthday five days earlier, after Mendosa and others asked the victim if he was a member of a rival gang, to which Harris replied, “No,” on Oct. 24, 2002.

    The victim was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting. The suspects fled the scene.

    Judge Teresa Corrigan ordered Mendosa held without bail. He faces up to 25 years in prison, if convicted. He is due back in court on Oct. 21.

  • Mon, October 05, 2015 11:26 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)


    DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Gangs that started out as local "youth crews" but grew into citywide networks at Rikers Island are driving up Brooklyn shootings, NYPD leaders said at a meeting Wednesday.

    More than half of north Brooklyn’s 220 shooting incidents this year were gang-related, NYPD Chief Rodney Harrison said at a public forum convened by Borough President Eric Adams.  

    The gangs are a hybrid of traditional gangs including the Bloods and Crips and small local crews of teenagers with members as young as 12, according to NYPD Gang Division head Deputy Chief Kevin Catalina, and they go by such names as "Money Goons," "Team Stack Paper" and "Rich Family."

    In the early 2000s, the youth crews were largely not involved in the drug trade, instead primarily feuding and shooting each other over "silliness," Catalina said.

    But the crews consolidated in Rikers, officials said, when incarcerated members joined gangs for protection.

    "As a result of, again, jail culture, a lot of them have developed now, not only the crew affiliations that they had, that they developed in the 2000s, but now overall gang affiliations that they picked up while they were inside," Catalina said. "So now, those crews that we were having such a difficult time dealing with now have more backing to almost a traditional gang culture, and a lot of these crews are aligned with each other."

    Department of Corrections Deputy Commissioner Errol Toulon said 16- to 21-year-olds are Rikers’ "most vulnerable population."

    "It’s very difficult, some of them, because once they become incarcerated, they feel like they need some sort of protection or some sense of belonging," he said. "And that’s why they generally, if they weren’t affiliated outside in the streets, they would be affiliated inside once they become incarcerated."

    Of the 9,830 inmates at Rikers, 1,956 are considered gang members, Toulon said. Slightly more than 1,000 Rikers inmates are under the age of 21, according to DOC.

    "A big fight is to move the adolescents off Rikers," he added, "but no one wants them in their backyard either."

    The crews often make money with credit card and check fraud schemes, Catalina said. But as prescription pain pill crackdowns have increased demand for heroin, he said, gangs have delved into the heroin trade.

    Despite the proliferation of gangs in jails, law enforcement officials said their focus was locking up dangerous crew members for "as long as possible," in the words of the Brooklyn district attorney’s office chief of crime strategies, Ed Carroll.

    "Or to keep them on probation, so that they are monitored, so that they’re not on the streets to do violence," Carroll added.

    Rikers has changed the way it calculates the level of risk an inmate poses to account for gangs, spokesman Jack Ryan said in a statement. "DOC’s new housing classification tool takes a much deeper look at gang affiliation in order to house inmates safely and prevent violence."

    One former gang member who now works with at-risk youth through the Department of Probation said many teens who have been swept up in the crew scene were just trying to survive.

    Dedric “Beloved” Hammond, who got involved with a crew at age 11, said in violent pockets of the city, authorities and parents often can't offer the level of physical protection teens need.

    "Six o’clock in the morning they actually got somebody waiting to actually shoot them because last night they got into a fight or they said some words that they didn’t like," he said.

    He added that many teens see few options, other than joining a gang, to ensure their own safety on city streets.

    "Some of these guys can’t make it from 129th to 128th and it’s only one block away,” Hammond told the crowd. "Some of them got forced into this life. It wasn’t a thing they chose."

  • Mon, October 05, 2015 11:25 AM | NYGIA (Administrator)



    Another arrest has been made in the undercover cocaine distribution investigation of the Young Gunnerz gang dubbed Operation Trojan Horse.

    A superseding indictment handed up Wednesday in Rensselaer County Court charges Guionna Fields with first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. She is the 21st person now named in a yearlong investigation into a drug pipeline that pumped large amounts of cocaine from New York City onto Capital Region streets. It was allegedly organized and run by the gang from North Troy.

    Assistant Attorney General Michael Sharpe said Fields — whose age and address were not immediately available — allegedly an associate of Joshua "Shellz" Lewis, 25, of Watervliet. Lewis was indicted in August and reindicted and arraigned Wednesday before Judge Debra Young on 16 felony counts Wednesday in the ongoing investigation. Lewis has pleaded not guilty and is in Rensselaer County Jail without bail.

    He was one of five people who appeared to have been tipped off about the sealed indictment back in August and eluded capture. He was found in North Carolina earlier this month and returned to Troy to be charged.

    Prosecutors continue to investigate the leaks.

    Sharpe said Wednesday that on that trip back from the South, conversations Lewis had with officers led to the identification of Fields and prompted the office of state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to re-present the Lewis case before a grand jury in recent days.

    Lewis faces several counts of criminal sales and possession of cocaine. He also faces a count of conspiracy.

    Sharpe alleges Lewis conspired with Daquan "Benji Got the Juice" Murray, who also faces numerous counts and is in jail without bail, to allegedly ferry large quantities of cocaine into the local market from New York City.

    Prosecutors also allege Lewis is a member of the Young Gunnerz gang, also called "YGz"

    "The YGz street gang provides protection, intimidates competition, gives members of the gang notoriety and reputation on the street and serves as a conduit for members of the YGz to find alternate narcotics sources of supply in the event their regular source of supply is unavailable," supporting information in the indictment said.

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