Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Organized Crime: Seven Members, Associates, and Leaders of Folk Nation Gang Indicted for Racketeering and Murder

U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

A superseding indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning charging seven members, associates, and leaders of the violent Brooklyn street gang “Six Tre Outlaw Gangsta Disciples Folk Nation,” also known as the “Folk Nation.” The 16-count indictment charges the defendants with violent crimes including racketeering, murder in-aid-of racketeering, murder conspiracy, attempted murder, robbery, assault, and illegal use of firearms.1 Two defendants will be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The defendants face sentences up to life imprisonment if convicted.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department. As detailed in the indictment and other court filings submitted by the government, a two-year joint investigation by the FBI and the NYPD revealed that since 2008, a violent set of the Folk Nation gang committed numerous crimes of violence including four murders, three attempted murders, two assaults, and six robberies. The gang was based in the Ebbets Field Houses, a New York City public housing community, although its criminal activities extended into the Tri-State area.

The gang is alleged to have used extreme and indiscriminate violence to further its objectives. The defendants’ victims include a 10-year-old girl, who was severely injured when she was shot in the neck by gang members while they were attempting to murder a rival. The gang is alleged to have committed four murders, in an effort to assert its power over the neighborhoods in which it operated. On at least two occasions, gang members missed their intended targets and hit innocent bystanders—after one murder at a teenager’s birthday party in an Ebbets Field apartment, gang members acknowledged that they had killed the wrong person.

In order to fund its illegal activities, members of the gang allegedly committed violent robberies of individuals and commercial establishments. Members of the gang are alleged to have robbed the Lee Perla jewelry store at the Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, New Jersey, making off with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of luxury watches. According to the indictment, the gang also targeted individual robbery victims, whom they lured to secluded areas in Brooklyn, via Internet advertisements on Craigslist, and then robbed at gunpoint. According to a detention memorandum filed by the government, the charged murders and other acts of violence took place on public streets, in front of personal residences, and even on a playground, in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The charges announced today are the latest in a series of federal indictments in this district charging members of violent street gangs with racketeering crimes.

“Motivated by greed, the Folk Nation employed indiscriminate violence to destroy the lives of their perceived enemies. But their violence spread beyond the gang world into the streets and playgrounds of Brooklyn, and innocent bystanders, including a child, were caught in the crossfire. Terrorizing a community, this gang claimed its turf by force and robbed from businesses and individuals alike leaving a trail of victims in its wake,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We are steadfast in our commitment to dismantling street gangs that put at risk the members of our community, and the seriousness of today’s charges reflect that commitment.”

“The reason the FBI places such a high priority on gang investigations is the extreme violence gangs so often commit. Here, as charged in the indictment, the defendants’ ruthlessness was matched by their recklessness. They allegedly showed no apparent concern for bystanders, and bystanders were seriously hurt as a consequence,” said Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “Through a variety of partnerships, including clergy, the Brooklyn District Attorney, and in this case United States Attorney Loretta Lynch, the police department is suppressing crime in Brooklyn to the point where last year for the first time since 1963 murder in the Borough fell below 200. As charged in the indictment, members of the Folk Nation have been responsible for multiple murders and shootings, and their apprehension and prosecution should have a continued salutary effect for the residents in and around the Ebbets Field Houses.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Zainab Ahmad and Seth DuCharme.

The Defendants:

YASSA ASHBURN, also known as “Indio,” “Swirls,” and “Swerve”
Age: 28

HAILE CUMMINGS, also known as “Ruger” and “Rugah”
Age: 20

GERALDO ELAINOR, also known as “Gunny” and “Geraldo Casimir”
Age: 21

DANIEL HARRISON, also known as “Bones,”
Age: 24

RICKY HOLLENQUEST, also known as “Dancer”
Age: 20

JAMAL LAURENT, also known as “Tails” and “Gunner”
Age: 22

TREVELLE MERRITT, also known as “Tiger”
Age: 19

1 The charges contained in the superseding indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.