Gangs Bragged, Recruited Through Social
Bridget Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton and Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced the arrest and indictment of 10 leaders and members of the “280” gang, based in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, who are charged with conspiring in numerous shootings during turf disputes with rival violent narcotic gangs. An eight-count indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit murder, assault, narcotics possession and weapons possession.
The new indictment is the final in a series of four prosecutions since 2012 targeting rival gangs operating in close proximity
to one another in Morrisania: “280”, “Dub City,” “WTG” and “6 Wild.” These investigations were conducted by the Special Narcotics Gang Prosecution Unit, the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) 44th Precinct Field Intelligence Sergeant, Assistant Field Intelligence Officers and Strategic Enforcement Team, and the Bronx District Attorney's Office.
Conducted under the auspices of the NYPD’s “Operation Crew Cut,” these investigations focused on multiple warring gangs within a targeted zone and have contributed to significant declines in shootings in the 44th Precinct and surrounding areas. In all, a total of 50 individuals were indicted and 24 guns seized in the past 18 months.
Arrests related to the new indictment charging members of the “280” gang took place on Friday. The defendants are expected to be arraigned this morning in Manhattan Supreme Court before Judge James Burke, 111 Centre Street, room 948. Police apprehended 10 high-ranking members of “280,” including gang leader Diamond Brown, aka "Debo," aka "Bo Gotti" and top lieutenants Jesus Perez, aka "Justice Bambino" and Guess Carter, aka "Guess Loc."
Since at least 2011, four rival gangs have been engaged violent, protracted turf battles in Morrisania. “280”, “WTG” and “6 Wild” are based in the NYPD’s 44th Precinct, while “Dub City” territory falls just over the border of the neighboring 46th Precinct.
Over the past three years, these four warring gangs together were linked to 34 shooting incidents in which 43 individuals were shot. In some instances, gang members brazenly fired their weapons in public areas, including busy streets, at apartment buildings and in one case into a crowded restaurant. Several victims were innocent bystanders.
The NYPD’s 44th Precinct Field Intelligence Division spearheaded investigations into all four of these gangs. The investigations involved a close examination of social media, including Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, which the gang members used to attract new recruits, fuel rivalries and brag about victories.
Fifty leaders and members of these gangs were charged under four indictments filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor over the past 18 months. The first indictment, unsealed in August 2012, charged 17 members of “Dub City.” The second indictment named 10 members of “WTG” in December 2012. A third charged 13 members of “6 Wild” in June 2013. The final indictment targets 10 members of “280.”
As successive waves of arrests occurred over the past 18 months, the NYPD’s 44th Precinct, where the majority of these gang members’ criminal activity occurred, experienced a significant decline in shootings. Between 2011 and 2013, the 44th Precinct recorded a dramatic 34% drop in overall shootings. (Overall shootings include incidents in which one or more individuals are shot, and are not limited to gang-related shootings.)
The 44th Precinct recorded an overall total of 51 shooting incidents (involving one or more victims) in 2011. By the end of 2013, following the completion of the “Dub City,” “WTG” and “6 Wild” investigations, the number of overall shooting incidents in the 44th Precinct had dropped to 34. The neighboring 46th Precinct experienced similar declines. This is compared to a 27 percent drop citywide in overall shooting incidents between 2011 and 2013.
Over the same time period, the NYPD recorded a 75 percent decline in shooting incidents specifically linked to these four gangs throughout the Bronx. In 2011, the four gangs were responsible for at least 15 shootings in which 18 individuals were shot. In 2012, the gangs were responsible for at least 16 shooting incidents in which 22 individuals were shot. By the end of 2013 – after three waves of arrests, but before the “280” arrests – there were 3 shootings linked to members of the “280” gang and none to “Dub City,” “WTG” or “6 Wild.”
As detailed in the four indictments, rivalries between these gangs date back to at least 2011. The intensity of these disputes varied as priorities and alliances shifted over time. While the “280” gang engaged in violent conflicts with all three rival gangs, “Dub City” was the gang’s primary rival. The gangs posted coded messages and photographs on social media to coordinate criminal activity and fuel the violence.
Shootings among the four groups frequently spilled into the community and resulted in innocent bystanders being shot. On July 28, 2011, a member of “6 Wild” fired into a crowded restaurant where members of “280” were gathered. One “280” member was shot. Later that year, on September 11, 2011, members of “280” and “WTG exchanged gunfire at a “WTG” YouTube videotaping session. Two bystanders watching the videotaping were shot. Windows of a livery cab in which members of “280” were riding were also shot out during the gunfire.
The following year, on May 18, 2012, a member of “Dub City” and a juvenile gang member fired shots through the window of a first floor apartment at a residential building at 1555 Grand Concourse, where they believed “WTG” members were living. Rounds were recovered from the window and from a wall inside the apartment. Another example occurred on July 16, 2012, when a “WTG” member fired shots into a crowd of bystanders near 1880 Valentine Avenue.
The “280” criminal street gang operates in the vicinity of 168th Street and College Avenue. Leaders and members participated in numerous acts of violence, including murder, assaults and attempted assaults using firearms, razor blades and other dangerous weapons. The indictment contains conspiracy charges related to 12 shooting incidents involving 17 victims. Members of the gang sold narcotics, including crack cocaine, heroin and other drugs, in part to pay for communal firearms.
As the leader of the “280” gang, Diamond Brown, aka "Debo," aka "Bo Gotti," authorized and directed numerous shootings. A review of communications through social media and text messages, combined with other evidence, show Brown and his two top lieutenants, Jesus Perez, aka "Juice Bambino," and Guess Carter, aka "Guess Loc," controlled communal firearms and directed juveniles to transport the weapons from place to place. Leaders of “280” relied heavily on social media to recruit new members, incite violence and intimidate witnesses.
On August 12, 2012, Brown sent a message by phone to a new recruit demanding a cash payment for guns and stating that the money would help cover the costs of “beefs” or disputes with other gangs. Brown wrote, “YU GOTTA ATLEAST PUT IN MONEY 4 dhat set severy chance yu get...cause dhis beef shit aint cheap” and “im supplyin dha hood soo wee can stay on dha map.”
Brown also oversaw the gang’s narcotics activity, with assistance from his top lieutenants. The gang leader used social media to brag of about the large sums of money he was making and posted numerous photos of cash on Facebook. Members of opposing groups often “friended” each other on Facebook in order to view one another’s postings.
During the investigation, Brown became a target of violence and was shot at least three times between October 2012 and June 2013. Three days after he was shot in June 2013, BROWN posted a message to his Facebook profile stating, “IT REALLY COST TO BE THE BOSS.”
The charged murder conspiracy in the “280” indictment begins with an escalation of violence on April 12, 2011, when “Dub City” member Dontae Murray, aka “TAY” was fatally shot. The shooter, a member of “280” was arrested and prosecuted by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. He was later sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Following the homicide, members of “280” sought to kill additional members of “Dub City,” often bragging about their efforts on Facebook and plotting additional attacks through text messages. Meanwhile, members of “Dub City” swore revenge. Numerous retaliatory shootings went back and forth between “280” and “Dub City,” including a shooting on August 2, 2011 targeting the brother of the “280” member who killed Murray.
The gangs were still warring the following summer when “280” members were targeted in serious shootings. Defendant Jaquan Murray, aka “MTB JA,” a member of “280”, was shot in the back on June 11, 2012. Extensive Facebook comments threatening retaliation followed this shooting. Another defendant, “280” member Anton Pye, aka "Max Payne," was shot in the face on July 1, 2012. The following month, Pye sent a text message to a “Dub City” member who he believed was involved, stating, “80 High Or DUCC LOW ...I’M NOT DEAD!”
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G, Brennan said, “Reckless, wanton shootings detailed in the indictment forced innocent bystanders to take cover and neighborhoods to conduct daily business in great fear for their safety and security. Targeting drug gangs involved in violence has significantly
diminished shootings in these neighborhoods. We commend our partners in the NYPD and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office for their perseverance in rooting out this problem.”
Police Commissioner Bratton said, “Today’s indictments are the culmination of a much larger investigation into four of the city’s most violent street crews, who since 2011 were responsible for murders, shootings, gun trafficking and narcotic distribution throughout the communities of the Bronx. I want to thank the members of the 44th Precinct, The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office for their relentlessness efforts in bringing these criminals to justice.”
Bronx District Attorney Johnson said, “No one should have to live in a community surrounded by drug dealers and shootings. These arrests and indictments are well deserved outcomes for the hard working, law abiding citizens who are trying to provide for their families and educate their children. Our respective agencies are committed to doing everything in our power to root out and punish those responsible for these violent criminal acts that put innocent men, women and children in harm’s way.”
Get More Bronx News