Federal prosecutors are charging 120 alleged Bronx gang members in a sweeping indictment alleging 9 years of murderous feuding and drug sales in northeastern parts of the Bronx. Police and federal agents arrested 70 people early this morning, and charged or plan to another 19 who are already in custody in separate cases, hitting them all with counts of racketeering and narcotics conspiracy. Another 31 suspects apparently are still at large.
Prosecutors say it is the most people indicted at once in New York City history.
"Those arrested today allegedly used violence and fear to intimidate people who live within and around the Eastchester Gardens public housing," said Angel Melendez, head of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
Melendez claimed that the alleged gang members let off around 1,800 shots among them, and killed 39 people.
The feds brought two separate indictments against alleged members of two warring gangs. One is 2Fly YGz, a faction of a larger group called the Young Gunnaz, or YGz. Prosecutors say the 2Fly YGz operated out of the Eastchester Gardens public housing development in an area near East Gun Hill Road known as the Valley. The other crew is called Big Money Bosses, or BMB, and was reportedly centered around nearby White Plains Road. Both groups are said to have beefed with the Slut Gang, centered in Eastchester's Boston Secor projects.
The indictments are vague—no one is named in connection with any murders, for example, and they don't charge anyone with murder—but say the gang activity dates back to 2007, including YGz selling drugs and stashing guns at an Eastchester Gardens playground. The gang is allegedly responsible for the fatal 2012 stabbing of 17-year-old John F. Kennedy High School sophomore Alex "AJ" Walters near his Co-Op City apartment, and the shooting death of 17-year-old Donville Simpson in Eastchester Gardens in 2013. The gang allegedly sold marijuana, crack and powder cocaine, oxycodone, and other prescription drugs, and carried out robberies, murder, and other acts of violence.
BMB, meanwhile, is said to have sold marijuana and crack, committed robberies and bank fraud, and used counterfeit money. The group is linked to the fatal shooting of Sadie Mitchell, a 92-year-old widow killed by a stray bullet in her Williamsbridge apartment in 2009, as well as the 2014 shooting death of Keshon Potterfield on 232nd Street, and the stabbing death of 15-year-old Jeffrey Delmore on East Gun Hill Road last year.
According to the indictment, leaders of BMB referred to themselves as Big Suits, and had subcategories signifying rank, such as Burberry Suits, Louis Suits, Gucci Suits, Ferragamo Suits, and Sean John Suits.
A music video appears to show accused BMB leader Nico Burrell, aka Zico Nico, rapping with accused member Donque Tyrell, aka Polo Rell, about robbing cocaine dealers, and calling out variations of the BMB name.
Another song, by Tyrell, now-codefendant Shavon "Bhippy" Wright, and another artist, seems to outline in visceral terms the cycle of violence playing out around White Plains Road, and, as far back as the video's release in 2014, their awareness of federal surveillance.
The music video was made by the same production company credited in a video starring an alleged member of a credit-card scammer ring arrested this week. The group reportedly recorded a separate ode to scamming called "For a Scammer."
Burrell, Wright, and Tyrell are among 57 charged with narcotics conspiracy, and 51 charged with racketeering conspiracy. Burrell and Tyrell are also among the 43 charged with gun offenses. 41 are charged with narcotics distribution, including Tyrell and Wright. Narcotics conspiracy carries 10 years to life in prison, racketeering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, and narcotics distribution carries one year to life. Those in custody are set to appear in federal court this afternoon.
In response to the bust, Bronx comedian the Kid Mero told his fans and associates leading a life of crime to expect the law.
YOOO HOLD UR HEAD OUTCHEA IF UR BANGIN MY PALS NY PRICKS & DICKS COMING FOR U
— The Kid Mero (@THEKIDMERO) April 27, 2016
Update 5:30 p.m.:
Officers executing a warrant as part of the gang raid this morning spooked a 21-year-old man who they weren't after in the Bronx, and he fell to his death from a sixth-story window, according to the police. The Daily News reports that the man was in the Wakefield apartment of the intended target of their arrest warrant and cops and U.S. Marshals made the collar, but they got suspicious when they left and noticed the other man outside on the fire escape. They told him to go back inside, but when they returned to the apartment, he was hanging from a window sill in an effort to hide, then lost his grip, according to the report. The man was purportedly wanted for several robberies in the Bronx, though the NYPD would not confirm this detail.
He was transported to Jacobi Medical Center and died there, a police spokesman said. The NYPD is withholding his name pending family notification.