FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 20, 2019
Ten Alleged Brick Squad Gang Members Charged in 48-Count
Conspiracy Indictment That Includes Two Murders and Seven Shootings
Incarcerated Defendant Known as The Godfather Allegedly Led the Gang,
Had More Than $25,000 in His Prison Commissary Account;
Gang Allegedly Trafficked Narcotics in Brooklyn, Binghamton and Maine
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, today announced that 10 alleged members of the Brick Squad street gang are variously charged in a 48-count indictment with conspiracy to commit murder, sell narcotics and commit other crimes; murder; weapons possession; narcotics possession; and related charges.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants were allegedly part of a violent and well-organized gang that sold dangerous drugs and committed numerous acts of violence, including murder, in Brooklyn and beyond. My Office’s strategy, in cooperation with the NYPD, is to focus our resources on these types of criminal enterprises that are responsible for a large share of violent crime and mayhem in our communities. Incapacitating this alleged gang will make a measurable improvement in public safety and should send a message that we will continue to root out dangerous gangs and narcotics traffickers.”
Commissioner Shea said, “Working together, we have once again done the important work of stopping an organized group of dangerous criminals. I commend our NYPD investigators and our partners in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for their smart, precise approach to curtailing violence in New York City.”
The District Attorney said that six of the defendants were arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Guy Mangano and were either remanded without bail or held on $500,000 bail; the rest of the defendants will be arraigned today and on Monday. The defendants are variously charged with second- and fourth-degree conspiracy, second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first- and second-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree burglary and related crimes. The defendants face up to 25 years in prison on the top conspiracy charge and the five defendants charged with murder face up to 25 years to life in prison. (See defendant addendum).
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendants are members of a violent street gang known as Brick Squad, a.k.a., Immortal Stone Gorilla Gang (ISGG), a subset of the larger Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation (UGSN). UGSN is a subset of the Bloods. It is alleged that Brick Squad operated within the confines of the 73rd, 75th, 79th, and 84th Precincts, but also expanded its narcotics distribution to jurisdictions outside New York City including Binghamton, New York and Bangor, Maine.
It is alleged that between March 2017 and December 11, 2019, Brick Squad members engaged in violence to establish geographic dominance and enforce the laws and tenets of the gang. During the course of the conspiracy the defendants allegedly sought to establish and enforce a set of rules and hierarchy within their own ranks and make money for the organization through criminal activity, primarily selling heroin laced with fentanyl, crack cocaine and marijuana. To achieve those goals, some Brick Squad members participated in violent criminal acts, including murder and shootings.
It is alleged that Brick Squad members committed two murders during the course of the conspiracy:
- On December 7, 2017, at approximately 2:50 a.m., in front of 601 Bainbridge Street in Ocean Hill, Brooklyn, Jahsaun Washington, acting in concert with Stephan Khadu and Christopher Garcia, shot and killed a fellow Brick Squad member, John Fernandez, who they mistakenly believed was cooperating with law enforcement and who was also faulted for not making enough money for the gang.
- On April 18, 2018, at approximately 8:38 p.m., in front of 175 Hart Street, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Quazeer Farmer, acting in concert with Stephan Khadu and Markel Pender, shot and killed Claudell Gary in the culmination of a year-long feud between the Gary family and Brick Squad members from the same Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.
During the course of the conspiracy, it is alleged, incarcerated Brick Squad members, including ringleader Howard Smith, a.k.a., Hamo or The Godfather, Markel Pender, Lee Kennedy, and others communicated with non-incarcerated members in prison phone calls to keep up to date on the status of members or to discuss violent acts. Furthermore, it is alleged, it was part of the conspiracy for Brick Squad members to make money for the organization through criminal acts including committing a burglary and selling narcotics. The narcotics distribution was allegedly based in Brooklyn but expanded to other jurisdictions, including Bangor, Maine and Binghamton, New York.
It is alleged that the proceeds of the narcotics sales were distributed among the high-ranking incarcerated members in the form of frequent deposits from some of the defendants to the incarcerated defendants prison commissary accounts, e.g., as of September 2019 Howard Smith had $25,751 in his personal prison commissary account and Markel Pender had $12,587.
The defendants are also variously charged with seven shootings and a burglary in which a safe containing approximately $3,000 was allegedly stolen from the home of a rival, a member of the Gary family.
The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective Douglas Rome, with the assistance of Detective Michael Algieri, under the supervision of Sergeant Andrew Dunton, Sergeant Calvin Fergus, Sergeant Scott McKenna, Lieutenant Richard Zacarese and Captain Thomas Passolo, and the overall supervision of Inspector Richard Green, of the Violence Reduction Task Force.
The case was additionally investigated by Junior Analyst Alexandra Aber and Supervising Analyst Brooke Middleton, of the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit. Paralegal Heidi Spitzer also assisted in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys James Slattery and Jhounelle Cunningham and Assistant District Attorney Maria Paolillo, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Cilia, Deputy Bureau Chief, Assistant District Attorney Jonathan R. Sennett, First Deputy Bureau Chief and Assistant District Attorney Alfred DeIngeniis, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Raymond Tierney, Executive Assistant District Attorney for the Crime Strategies Unit and Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau.
An indictment is merely an accusation and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
- Quazeer Farmer, 20, of Putnam Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Christopher Garcia, 21, of Fulton Street, Brooklyn.
- Lee Kennedy, 35, of Bridge Street, Brooklyn.
- Stephan Khadu, 22, of Willoughby Avenue Brooklyn.
- Andrew Marquis, 21, of Paris Court, Staten Island.
- Jerome Noble, 30, of Jefferson Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Markel Pender, 26, of Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn.
- Howard Smith, 49, of West 16th Street, Brooklyn.
- Dayshawn Speed, 28, of York Street, Brooklyn.
- Jahsaun Washington, 20, of Liberty Avenue, Brooklyn.
Note: materials displayed during the press conference can be viewed here.