• Mon, October 14, 2013 7:21 PM | Anonymous
    3 Newburgh slayings earn Latin King 40 years in prison

    By Leonard Sparks
    Times Herald-Record
    Published: 2:00 AM - 09/25/13
    WHITE PLAINS undefined A City of Newburgh man who admitted being involved in three murders as a member of the Latin Kings received a 40-year prison sentence in federal court on Tuesday.

    Jose "King Gordo" Lagos, 23, was one of a trio indicted on charges they were high-ranking Latin Kings who controlled the crack and heroin trade in Newburgh's East End and used violence, including murder, to punish rival gangsters and their own members.

    The sentence by U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel came eight months after Lagos pleaded guilty to being involved in the mistaken killing of 15-year-old Jeffrey Zachary in May 2008 and the killings of John "Tarzan" Maldonado and Jerome "Rude Boy" Scarlett in March 2010.

    "With this sentencing, and the pending sentencing of Lagos's two key accomplices, the leadership of the gang that deprived the citizens of Newburgh of their well-being has been decapitated," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

    Gordo, Wilson "King Gunz" Pagan and Christian "King Chi Chi" Sanchez were among more than 100 alleged Latin King and Bloods gang members arrested in a series of raids by the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force beginning in May 2010.

    A 42-count indictment named the three as leaders of a Newburgh Latin Kings chapter that controlled drug dealing in the East End from at least 2007 to September 2012.

    The gang peddled crack and powder cocaine, heroin and marijuana from drug markets in the areas of Benkard Avenue and William Street; Broadway between South Miller and Lutheran streets; Washington and Clark streets; and Dubois and First streets, prosecutors alleged.

    Violence reinforced the gang's power, prosecutors said. Its leadership ordered hits on members of its own gang and rival gangs, attempted to rob a drug dealer in New Windsor and threatened informants, according to the indictment.

    Zachary was killed on May 6, 2008, on Dubois Street, mistaken for a rival Bloods member the Latin Kings had allegedly ordered shot.

    Scarlett was murdered on March 11, 2010, allegedly by Maldonado as the two were supposed to be carrying out a hit for the Latin Kings in the area of Farrington and Lander streets. Maldonado was killed the next day on the orders of gang leadership, prosecutors said.

    In March, a federal grand jury found Pagan and Sanchez guilty of drug, murder and racketeering charges, with Pagan convicted of being involved in Zachary's killing and Sanchez found guilty in the murders of Maldonado and Scarlett.

    Both face mandatory life terms when they are sentenced later this year.

  • Thu, October 10, 2013 12:27 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    MONTICELLO – A reputed member of the Latin Kings street gang, who was arrested for burglary in June, has been arrested again, this time for felony criminal mischief.

    Michael Galicia, 19, of Harris, was caught on June 12 while burglarizing a garage where antiques were stored in the Town of Liberty. He was out of jail on ‘pre-trail release’ when he was arrested again, last Thursday, June 26.

    Gang tag on propane tank

    Galicia and a 15-year-old relative allegedly spray painted graffiti on the Ferndale Medical Arts Center and Handsome Freddies apartments in the Town of Liberty, causing several thousand dollars in damage.

    Sullivan County Sheriff’s deputies were alerted to the damage by a business owner and conducted a series of neighborhood interviews.

    Deputy Richard Morgan eventually developed information that led to Galicia, said Sheriff Michael Schiff, who said spray cans were recovered and a confession was secured from the suspect.

    The sheriff’s office has passed the information on to the school resource officer in Liberty where similar graffiti has appeared recently.

    Galicia was charged with felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a minor.

    His pre-trial release was revoked and he was remanded to the Sullivan County Jail in lieu of $2,500 bail.

    The 15-year-old, who was involved, was referred to Family Court.

  • Thu, October 10, 2013 12:26 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    MONTICELLO – A Monticello man, who is a self-admitted member of the Crips street gang, was sentenced in Sullivan County Court on Tuesday to 13 years in state prison and five years of parole. Franklin Brinson, 21, also known as “Ace-Loc,” had pled guilty to first-degree assault for shooting another man in the face and leg.

    The victim has since recovered from his wounds.

    The shooting was investigated by Monticello Police and the gun used was recovered.

    Sullivan County District Attorney James Farrell said the shooting was the product of gang violence “that will not be tolerated in our community.” The district attorney said law enforcement is “committed to rooting out the violence in the Village of Monticello and sending those individuals who engage in this behavior to prison for lengthy periods of time.”

  • Thu, October 10, 2013 12:25 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    The man charged with shooting a 33-year-old in the head and neck on Roosevelt Avenue last week is a suspected gang member, the Queens district attorney said.


    Authorities believe 20-year-old Pedro Silva of Jackson Heights is part of the street gang M18, the DA’s office said.

    Silva was charged with murder, criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with evidence in the Sept. 20 shooting death of Corona resident Ivan Rodriguez, according to the borough’s top prosecutor.

    Silva, along with several other suspected gang members, chased Rodriguez on the Jackson Heights avenue and allegedly shot the 33-year-old in the head and neck after he fell, the DA said.

    M18, which is also known as “Mara 18” and the “18th Street” gang, is a transnational gang with origins in Mexico and California, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    “In another unfortunate example of the senseless gun violence that seems to more and more permeate our society, the defendant is accused of chasing after the victim with others and fatally shooting him in the head while he was lying helplessly on the ground,” Queens DA Richard Brown said. “His alleged actions were violent and ruthless and the charges against him will be vigorously prosecuted.”

    After the shooting, Silva allegedly fled and dumped his weapon in the trash near 37th Avenue, according to the district attorney’s office.

    Police later recovered a .22 caliber gun, five spent rounds and one live round from a pile of garbage located in front of 37-61 88th St., the DA’s office said.

  • Sun, July 21, 2013 7:35 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    ALBANY undefined New York’s violent crimes increased 2.3 percent statewide to more than 79,000 last year despite a steep drop in New York City murders.

    State data on serious property and violent crimes still show an overall 13 percent decade-long decline to about 450,000 last year. That reflects fewer crimes in all categories, led by a 62 percent drop in stolen vehicles, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

    “There’s all kinds of things you could point to and say maybe they make a difference, but I think it’s hard with any certainty to say,” Michael Green, ex-prosecutor and DCJS executive deputy commissioner, said of the plummeting homicide rate. They arguably include police anti-gang strategies, the city database for tracking guns and programs providing alternatives to jail, he said.

    While the city’s murders declined almost 19 percent to 419 in 2012, the fewest recorded in decades, aggravated assaults, robberies and forcible rapes all rose slightly to nearly 53,000 violent crimes, up 3.5 percent from 2011, and about two-thirds of the statewide total.

    For the rest of the state, violent crimes were nearly flat at about 26,000 last year, with declines in forcible rapes and robberies, an uptick in aggravated assaults and 265 murders, a 4 percent increase.

    New York City police reports this year show a continuing drop in murders to 166 through the first week of July, down 27 percent from last year, with a 9 percent decline in robberies, a 2 percent increase in rapes and a 1 percent uptick in felony assaults. The report noted 526 shooting incidents with 614 victims, both numbers down more than 27 percent from a year earlier.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking this month at police graduation ceremonies, said the city last year set a record low for both murders and shootings and was on pace to break both records this year.
  • Sun, July 21, 2013 7:31 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    By sending two reputed Latin Kings street gang members to prison for more than 58 years for a botched murder attempt, the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office says it hopes a message was sent to other criminal enterprises operating inside county lines.

    Justin Alfonso, 18, and Irving Negron, 22, were sentenced Monday for attempting to kill two fellow members in March 2012 in retaliation for stealing money and disrespecting the group, known as the Mohawk Warrior Tribe.

    In June, a jury found Alfonso, Negron and three others guilty on all counts, including conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.

    “These are dangerous men,” Assistant District Attorney Matthew Weishaupt said. “By sending them to prison, until late in their lives, we significantly reduce that danger.”

    Alfonso, who prosecutors said shot both victims inside a Rip Van Winkle Apartments unit in the City of Poughkeepsie with a stolen .45-caliber handgun, was sentenced to 592⁄3 to 79 years in state prison and 10 years post-release supervision. He was ordered to pay $750 in fines.

    Negron was sentenced to 581⁄3 to 75 years in prison and 10 years post-release supervision. He, too, was ordered to pay $750 in fines.

    Alfonso and Negron were convicted of second-degree conspiracy, two counts of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree gang assault and two counts of first-degree attempted assault, all felonies. Alfonso also was convicted of fourth-degree grand larceny for stealing the gun.

    Prosecutors said he was ordered to kill the victims by the group’s Dutchess County leadership, Timothy “King Tiny” Ramirez, 22, and 43-year-old John “King Whiteblood” Rizzo of Hyde Park, who were both convicted during the trial.

    In court, Alfonso was expressionless. When Dutchess County Court Judge Stephen Greller asked him if he would like to make a statement on his behalf, Alfonso replied, “No, sir.”

    Greller said: “Your gang, its values, are over. And this community will be safe from, in my opinion, a sociopath killer.”

    Greller said he had listened to phone calls Alfonso made, and read letters Alfonso wrote, where he bragged about the incident. Alfonso is alleged to have written that everyone was going to know his name after the attack.

    Alfonso’s attorney Bruce Petito said he believes the sentence was excessive.

    “Obviously we’ll be appealing that sentence,” Petito said. “The Appellate Division will decide if it was a fair verdict or if it was an excessive sentence imposed on a boy who was 17 (years old) when he committed the crime.”

    The prosecution said Negron rushed into the apartment after Alfonso shot Ruben Rivera, 21, in the face and stabbed him. Kymberle Perez-Colon, 21, was shot in the upper chest. Both survived.

    On his way out, Negron held the door open for police officers, responding to the attack, evidence showed.

    Cynthia Kasnia, Negron’s attorney, said her client has maintained his innocence and also plans to appeal the court’s decision.

    Rizzo and the fifth man convicted in the attack, Paul Sellers, 19, of the City of Poughkeepsie, are to be sentenced this week. Ramirez is to be sentenced in August.

    Negron lives in the Town of Poughkeepsie. A residence was not provided for Alfonso.

  • Sun, July 21, 2013 7:25 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance indicted 63 gang members involved in murders, shootings, assaults, firearms possessions and gun trafficking. videojournalist Ed Alpern reports that police busted members in some of the city’s most violent street gangs by monitoring Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

    New York City veteran criminal defense attorney, H. Hershel Katz, pointed out that the defendants were from low income projects. He described them as “kids whose life expectancies to them is tomorrow.” Hershel warned that the cops’ investigative techniques may sound like a sexy, interesting way of getting bad guys and guns off the streets. However, their actions raise troubling question about privacy in the digital age that also affects the law abiding, general public.

    Do you give up your right to and expectation of privacy when you use social media to communicate?

    The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 and Title 2 of that act, the Stored Communication Privacy Act address privacy of email and electronic communications. But social media as it exists today was not around when these laws were drafted. Hershel says this creates grey areas that tilt the scale of justice toward prosecution.

    In the old days, police needed a search warrant to access certain information. But now communications on social media are fair game. Facebook even has a policy stating it will work with law enforcement, and may disclose information pursuant to subpoenas, court orders or other criminal or civil requirements.

    However, Hershel does not think people have simply surrendered their privacy rights by logging on, or posting a status update. He believes common law, statutory, legislative and constitutional rights still protect our privacy and freedom from unwarranted search and seizure undefined even in the age of social media.
  • Sun, July 21, 2013 7:19 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    It's out with the gangs and in with the games at a Morrisania playground.

    A seven-week summer program at the Mott Playground is being funded by money forfeited during gang busts conducted by the NYPD using social media.

    “It’s the one good thing that the drug dealers can contribute to the community,” said Bridget Brennan, the city's Special Narcotics Prosecutor. “We take their money and put it right back into fun things like this.”

    The playground will participate in a Police Athletic League program that sets up basketball tournaments, table games, and other creative activities.

    A joint effort conducted by the 44th Precinct and Brennan's office has taken down 41 gang members in the Morrisania area since 2011.


    Last year, members of “Dub City” and “WTG” gangs were picked up and prosecuted after investigators began tracking their violent acts through online sites such as Facebook and YouTube.

    Brennan said the gangs were using social media as a tool for recruitment as well as a forum to taunt rivals.


    Money confiscated from the 6 Wild gang during a raid in June conducted by the NYPD and Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. Funds from similar seizures are being used to fund the PAL progam.

    “There was a lot of bluster, a lot of bragging about money,” the prosecutor said. “Lots of pictures of big hordes of cash and talking about how much money they were scoring. And that was used to attract young people to the gang.”

    Murders and shootings in the precinct have been cut in half over the last two years, and the 44th Precinct commander believes the takedowns had a big role.

    “When you’re able to extract almost 40 of the worst people in your command it has a tremendous impact on the quality of life,” said Insp. Kevin Catalina.


    Last month, 11 members of a violent crew “6 Wild” were indicted in connection with a series of home invasions.

    The crew, which operated in the area around Mott Playground, posted photos of large amounts of cash and other stolen items.

    About 50 kids waited patiently until the ribbon was formally cut on Wednesday morning, then enjoyed knock-hockey, Connect Four and basketball.

    Jeremy Casso, an 11-year-old from Morrisania, not only enjoyed the games, but absorbed a larger message

    “What (the cops) do makes kids like me want to do good things,” he said. “I want to be a criminal prosecutor because I want to help families that have been through something bad or dealt with something bad.”

  • Sun, July 21, 2013 7:16 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    A Bloods gang member was sentenced Wednesday to 112 years in prison for his role in a large-scale narcotics pipeline that moved heroin and cocaine throughout the Capital Region.

    Michael "Jigga" Williams, 28, of Albany, was convicted of 17 felony counts on May 21 following the longest trial in the history of Albany County.

    The gang member undefined who blasted an investigator as a "coward" and "devil" following his conviction undefined was found guilty alongside two co-defendants in the 13-week trial before Judge Stephen Herrick. A fourth defendant was acquitted on most charges; jurors could not reach a verdict on the rest.

    Williams was found guilty of counts that included conspiracy and drug dealing. He was involved in the selling of heroin and cocaine, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office, which prosecuted the case.

    The three convictions concluded a 2012 case Schneiderman's office brought against 52 defendants, including reputed members of the Bloods and the South End-based Original Gangsta Killas street gang.

    Most defendants cut plea bargains with prosecutors before their cases went to trial. And Herrick dismissed charges against two defendants who went to trial undefined Anthony Taylor of Albany and Richard Collier of Glens Falls undefined following arguments by their lawyers.

    In addition to Williams, jurors convicted Guy "Sos" Anderson of Cohoes, a supplier of the cocaine and heroin, of 17 drug-dealing related counts. That including being a major trafficker, which alone carries a life sentence. Also found guilty was OGK gang member Jamel "Melly Mel" Pearson of Albany, who was convicted of 11 drug-dealing counts.

    Pearson, like Williams, is a persistent felony offender, which makes him eligible for a life sentence.

    The jury acquitted Marquese "Man Man" Johnson, who authorities said has been an OGK member, of every charge that ended in a verdict. Schneiderman's office could retry him on undecided charges.

    Schneiderman's office noted in a news release Wednesday that the overall drug ring "distributed massive quantities of cocaine, heroin and various illegal prescription medications, including hydrocodone, oxycodone and Percocet" from New York City to areas that included Albany, Renssealer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, Greene, Ulster, Orange and Rockland counties, as well as Vermont.

    The case followed an 18-month investigation by Schneiderman's Organized Crime Task Force and Albany and State Police, among other agencies. It was prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Michael Sharpe.

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