Indictments Unsealed Charging Four Block Gang Members and Others with Racketeering and Narcotics Conspiracies
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 26, 2011|
United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian announced the unsealing of two indictments returned by a federal grand jury for the Northern District of New York in Albany, New York, charging 19 defendants with conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act as members and associates of a criminal organization in Schenectady, New York, known as the “Four Block Gang;” 25 additional defendants with narcotics conspiracy and/or narcotics distribution offenses; and two of the 44 defendants with interstate travel in furtherance of racketeering activity. Indictment 11-CR-247 consists of 17 felony counts. Indictment 11-CR-246 consists of nine felony counts.
The RICO Conspiracy Indictment (11-CR-247)
Nineteen Schenectady men are charged in the RICO conspiracy, as follows:
- Richard Anderson, a/k/a Pretty, Pretty Ricky, age 23;
- Henry Beard, a/k/a Ju Ju, age 18;
- Justin Belle, a/k/a Jus, Just Blaze, age 23;
- Mikell Butler, a/k/a Kells, age 20;
- Linsandro Brown, a/k/a C, age 34;
- Tommie Caldwell, a/k/a T-boy, Tommie Gun, age 20;
- Shaquan Hayes, a/k/a Quan, age 19;
- Eric Harris, a/k/a Easy E, e, age 20;
- Ricardo Henderson, a/k/a Ruckus, Mateo, Teo, age 20;
- Qierre Jacobs, a/k/a Stacks, Q-stacks, age 20;
- Charles Lewis, Jr., a/k/a Chuck D, age 19;
- Arsheen Montgomery, a/k/a Dudie, age 18;
- Phillip Moore, a/k/a Skrilla, P-crack, Big Phil, age 20;
- Curtis Perkins, a/k/a Curt, age 23;
- Quintel Raysor, a/k/a Quinny, Q Da Don, age 20;
- Kwame Robinson, a/k/a Kwa, age 19;
- Leon Robinson, a/k/a Eon, E-Blix, age 18;
- Jose Serrano, a/k/a Rico, age 20; and
- Kawaun Wiggins, a/k/a Doughboy, age 25.
The maximum possible penalty upon conviction of this RICO conspiracy charge is life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, for Richard Anderson, Justin Belle, Lisandro Brown, Shaquan Hayes, Eric Harris, Ricardo Henderson, Qierre Jacobs, Arsheen Montgomery, Phillip Moore, Curtis Perkins, Quintel Raysor, Kwame Robinson, and Kawaun Wiggins; for Henry Beard, Mikell Butler, Tommie Caldwell, Charles Lewis, Jr., Leon Robinson, and Jose Serrano, the maximum possible penalty is imprisonment for 20 years and a fine of $250,000.
The indictment alleges that: The 19 defendants were members and associates of a criminal organization in Schenectady, New York, known as the Four Block Gang, which constituted a racketeering enterprise involved in shootings, gun possession, and narcotics distribution. The Four Block Gang operated in a multi-block area in the Hamilton Hill area of the City of Schenectady, New York. This territory is bordered by State Street, Strong Street, Brandywine Avenue, and Veeder Avenue. One of the principal activities of the Four Block Gang and its members was the sale of controlled substances. Four Block Gang members guarded their territory to prevent drug sales by others in the territory or encroachment of any kind by rival gang members. Four Block Gang members armed themselves with firearms in order to protect their territory, to protect their drug trade, to project a violent attitude to rival gang members, and to retaliate against any rival gangs who committed acts of violence against Four Block Gang members.
The indictment charges 26 overt acts that were committed in furtherance of the RICO conspiracy that occurred in Schenectady, Glenville, and Niskayuna in Schenectady County, and in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Rutland, Vermont. Eighteen of the overt acts involve cocaine base (crack) and nine involve firearms or ammunition possession, including two shootings. Overt act 11 alleges that Curtis Perkins fired a handgun at a rival gang member on July 21, 2010 in Schenectady. Overt act 13 alleges that Jose Serrano fired a handgun at a rival gang member on July 24, 2010 in Schenectady.
Charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and heroin, from November 2008 to date, are:
- Deshae Harris, of Schenectady, age 25;
- Kadeem Pell, of Schenectady, age 23;
- DeShawn Tarver, of Schenectady, age 23;
- Charles Edwards, of Schenectady, age 23;
- Brian Wilder, of Clarendon, Vermont, age 40;
- Jamie Baker, of Rutland, Vermont, age 45;
- Val Socinski, of Rutland, Vermont, age 44;
- Kevin Roundsville, of Schuylerville, New York, 47; and
- Charles Procella, of Whitehall, New York, age 34.
RICO defendants Richard Anderson, Justin Belle, Linsandro Brown, Shaquan Hayes, Eric Harris, Ricardo Henderson, Qierre Jacobs, Arsheen Montgomery, Phillip Moore, Curtis Perkins, Quintel Raysor, Kwame Robinson, and Kawaun Wiggins are also charged with being members of this narcotics distribution conspiracy.
The indictment alleges that: Linsandro Brown, Richard Anderson, Shaquan Hayes, Kawaun Wiggins, Deshae Harris, and others known supplied cocaine base (crack) to Ricardo Henderson, who supplied it to Justin Belle, Eric Harris, Qierre Jacobs, Phillip Moore, Quintel Raysor, Kwame Robinson, Kadeem Pell, DeShawn Tarver, Charles Edwards, Brian Wilder, Jamie Baker, Val Socinski, Charles Procella, and Kevin Roundsville for re-distribution; and Justin Belle, Eric Harris, Qierre Jacobs, Phillip Moore, Quintel Raysor, Kwame Robinson, Kadeem Pell, DeShawn Tarver, Charles Edwards, and Brian Wilder transported cocaine base (crack) from Schenectady to Rutland, Vermont, for re-distribution and transported the proceeds of narcotics trafficking from Rutland back to Ricardo Henderson in Schenectady.
The maximum possible penalty upon conviction of the narcotics conspiracy charge is life imprisonment and a fine of $4,000,000, with a statutory minimum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years. For defendants Linsandro Brown and Ricardo Henderson, who are alleged who have prior drug felony convictions, the maximum possible penalty upon conviction of the narcotics conspiracy charge is life imprisonment and a fine of $8,000,000, with a statutory minimum penalty of imprisonment for 20 years.
The indictment also charges a total of 13 crack felonies involving 16 defendants: Kawaun Wiggins, Richard Anderson, Ricardo Henderson, DeShawn Tarver, Brian Wilder, Leon Robinson, Kwame Robinson, Mikell Butler, Arsheen Montgomery, Shaquan Hayes, Qierre Jacobs, Henry Beard, Tommie Caldwell, Jose Serrano, Charles Lewis, Jr., and Kadeem Pell.
Ricardo Henderson and Kadeem Pell also are charged with interstate travel from New York to Vermont in furtherance of racketeering activity involving drug distribution.
An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The Narcotics Conspiracy Indictment (11-CR-246)
A related indictment charges 16 individuals with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 280 or more grams of cocaine base (crack), five kilograms or more of cocaine, and a kilogram or more of heroin, in Schenectady County and elsewhere, from 2008 through September 2010. In addition, five of the defendants are charged with distribution and/or possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine or heroin on various days in 2009 through 2011.
The defendants charged with narcotics conspiracy are:
- Frank Moreno, Bronx, New York, age 30;
- Henry Keene, Medford, New York, age 35;
- Terrance Neal, Brooklyn, New York, age 35;
- Omar Lewis, Schenectady, New York, age 37;
- Jubbar Singleton, Schenectady, New York, age 39;
- El-Hajj Moses, Albany, New York, age 18;
- Asar Brandow, Schenectady, New York, age 38;
- Marqus Buchanan, Schenectady, New York, age 35;
- Maikel Mangra, Schenectady, New York, age 26;
- Rodney Randall, Schenectady, New York, age 39;
- Shirockie Kirk, Schenectady, New York, age 33;
- Vittorio George, Schenectady, New York, age 38;
- Steven Hartridge, Schenectady, New York, age 38;
- Sakena Kocer, Schenectady, New York, age 22;
- Dushan Wilson, Albany, New York, age 22; and
- Gregory Wilson, Albany, New York, age 40.
The indictment alleges that: Frank Moreno procured cocaine in kilogram quantities and heroin in the City of New York for distribution to Henry Keene and others. Terrance Neal assisted in the procurement of narcotics in the City of New York. Omar Lewis, Dushan Wilson, Jubbar Singleton, and El-Hajj Moses received narcotics in Albany and Schenectady for redistribution. Rodney Randall supplied cocaine to Omar Lewis for redistribution. Omar Lewis supplied narcotics to Asar Brandow, Shirockie Kirk, Vittorio George, Maikel Mangra, and Marqus Buchanan in Schenectady for re-distribution. Steven Hartridge assisted Omar Lewis in the preparation of cocaine for resale and Sakena Kocer assisted the distribution of narcotics for Omar Lewis.
The maximum possible penalty upon conviction of this narcotics conspiracy charge is life imprisonment and a fine of $4,000,000, with a statutory minimum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years. For defendants Terrance Neal, Asar Brandow, and Gregory Wilson, who are alleged who have prior drug felony convictions, the maximum possible penalty upon conviction of the narcotics conspiracy charge is life imprisonment and a fine of $8,000,000, with a statutory minimum penalty of imprisonment for 20 years. Defendant Henry Keene, Jubbar Singleton, Shirockie Kirk, and Vittorio George are believed to have two prior drug felony convictions each, which would make their statutory minimum penalty upon conviction life imprisonment.
An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Over 200 law enforcement officers executed arrest warrants early this morning. Five defendants were already in custody. Thirty of the other 39 defendants were arrested today. Law enforcement officers continue to seek the remaining nine defendants. Items seized in connection with the arrests included a significant quantity of crack cocaine, four firearms, and U.S. currency.
The initial appearances of the defendants on the indictments began at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge David R. Homer in federal court in Albany.
U.S. Attorney Hartunian praised the excellent work of the federal, state and local investigators responsible for today’s events and said: “Gangs such as the Four Block Gang victimize our community with drugs and gun violence. Innocent people are caught up in the mayhem they cause. Unfortunately for these gangs, law enforcement agencies in the Capital Region and throughout the Northern District of New York have a strong tradition of working together to address their violent activities, as our prior successful cases against other gangs in Syracuse and Albany have shown. Gang members and people considering gang affiliation can choose to become peaceful and productive members of society or face the consequences of our combined response and the most serious penalties that state and federal law will allow. They should understand that our federal, state and local partnerships are stronger than ever and that our commitment to stamping out gang violence will continue until gangs no longer terrorize our communities. Those who don’t get this message, and who continue to engage in gang violence and drug dealing, will wind up like Four Block—in a prison cell block.”
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said: “In the aftermath of a series of teen suicides two years ago that were related to burgeoning gang activity in the city of Schenectady, I requested federal assistance for our community. Today marks the culmination of the efforts of dedicated federal, state, and local law enforcement utilizing expansive federal statutes defining enterprise corruption and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, to deal a crippling blow to the Four Block Gang, a group responsible for much of the drug dealing and violence that have plagued our community. I thank the FBI for spearheading the investigation under the guidance of the U.S. Attorney Rick Hartunian, and for their embrace of a true partnership with local and state law enforcement for the betterment of Schenectady. To those who would continue to destroy our neighborhoods with the toxic combination of drugs and guns, this operation should be a wake-up call that your activities are being scrutinized by law enforcement at all levels and you should do something constructive with your lives or you will be next.”
Clifford C. Holly, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said: “The members of this FBI-led task force have demonstrated how law enforcement partnerships can positively affect the lives of our citizens by combining our resources to focus on the most dangerous threats to our communities. The FBI is honored to have worked side by side with such a dedicated cadre of prosecutors and law enforcement officers whose efforts will result in a safer community for our citizens. The FBI, in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, will continue to focus resources on combating drug and gang violence in our communities. We will continue to target the most violent street gangs and their leaders. This operation dealt a significant blow to the gang members whose drug distribution networks often fueled gangs and violence in the community. Law enforcement, in partnership with the community and its leaders, will continue its efforts to ensure citizens are safe to enjoy the places in which they live and work without the threat of violence or intimidation.”
Schenectady Chief of Police Mark Chaires said: “Throughout the past several decades, Schenectady neighborhoods have been exposed to a toxic combination of gangs and gun violence, the Four Block Gang being one of the more recent manifestations of this pathology. Through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets initiative and with the guidance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have successfully targeted the Four Block Gang and have made great strides in giving Schenectady’s streets back to its citizens. This investigation has culminated with the indictments of criminals responsible for perpetrating violent crimes in Schenectady. These indictments are a significant step in Schenectady’s efforts to enhance the quality of life of its residents and should serve as notice to other criminal enterprises that their presence here will be dealt with in similar fashion.”
John P. Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, stated: “A violent cocaine distribution organization has been dismantled and taken off the streets of our community. The Safe Streets Initiative united law enforcement in order to identify, investigate, and arrest those who were threatening and intimidating our neighborhoods with drugs and violence.”
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said: “The arrests made today and throughout this two-year investigation have effectively dismantled an organized criminal network responsible for distributing illegal narcotics and weapons throughout the capital district and beyond. The New York State Police will continue our commitment to working with our law enforcement partners in our efforts to rid our neighborhoods of the gangs and individuals responsible for trafficking in narcotics, weapons and the violent behavior associated with these illegal activities. Congratulations to this multi-agency investigative team for a job well done.”
The investigation that resulted in these charges was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York State Police, the Schenectady Police Department, the Vermont State Police, the Rutland Police Department, the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Schenectady County Probation Department, the Office of the District Attorney of Schenectady County, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.
CONTACT: Deputy Criminal Chief William Pericak at (518) 431-0247.