Federal officials announced that the members of a Yonkers street gang are being charged with various drug and gun charges after indictments were unsealed today.
A two-count indictment charges 20 members and associates of the Strip Boyz street gang with conspiring to distribute and possess, with intent to distribute, crack cocaine and marijuana, and the use of firearms in relation to that conspiracy. The illicit activity began in 2001, according to officials.
The indictments come as a result of a long-term investigation conducted by federal, state, and local law enforcement officers working with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. A copy of the unsealed indictment is available in the PDF to the right of this story.
The people named in that indictment are: Mark David, 23; Calvin Bailey, 21; Laquay Cokley, 20; Jose Cruz, 26; Wayne Custis, 21; Melvin Dias, 25; Tremaine Garrison, 21; Daiquon Henderson, 22; Michael Henderson, 23; Leanell Hines, 21; Dawone Hodges, 28; Eric Lockhart, 28; Darryl McFadden, 22; Harry Quintana-Cruz, 21; John Slade, 27; Akeem Smith, 21; Paul Stinson, 39; Joel Urena, 24; Joshua Vilian, 27; and Gregory Williams, 26.
They all face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Two additional indictments charge two Yonkers residents with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine as well as substantive counts of distribution of, and possessing with intent to distribute, crack cocaine. Yrone Hall is charged with distributing and possessing narcotics with intent to sell, from January to June of this year, while Jonathan Miles, 23, is charged with possessing crack with the intent to distribute sometime in April 2012.
Hall faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison while Miles faces a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Officials managed to arrest all, but three of the people named in the indictment earlier today.
The Strip Boyz, according to indictments, are a drug trafficking organization that has been around for at least 11 years. They allegedly sold crack and marijuana in and around the Schlobohm Housing Projects, located on Schroeder Street in Yonkers. Members and associates of the gang worked together to ensure that they all profited from the gang’s drug sales. They also shared firearms and used them to protect their territory from encroachment by rival gangs.
The Strip Boyz and members of other gangs from Locust Hill Avenue have been engaged in a violent dispute with other Yonkers street gangs, including the “Elm Street Wolves,” the “Cliff Street Gangsters,” and “Two Guns U” from Riverdale Avenue.
Gang members committed acts of violence, including beatings, stabbings, and shootings, to protect their drug territory, according to the indictment. Certain members of the Strip Boyz also created, performed, recorded and distributed rap music celebrating their activities. The music was made available on social media site such as Facebook and YouTube.
“Violent street gangs are a blight on our neighborhoods and our crackdown against them continues unabated,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “We cannot and we will not allow them to cast the shadow of guns and drugs over our streets and jeopardize the safety of our residents. Today’s arrests once again underscore our commitment to solving this problem. ”
Said Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner: “This investigation is a prime example of the value of joint federal and local law enforcement agency initiatives and how these collaborative efforts can make a difference in improving public safety. The Yonkers Police Department is very grateful to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of NY and the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force for partnering with us in addressing this violent criminal activity occurring in our City.”
Bharara said the investigation is continuing and that the prosecution is being handled by his office’s White Plains division. Assistant U.S. attorneys Andrew Bauer and Ilan Graff are in charge of the prosecution.