NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Eight alleged members of a crack-dealing Bronx street gang were hit with federal charges Thursday that are linked to various crimes, including two attempted murders.
Five of the eight defendants – Jean Baptiste Lessage, David Buckahnon, Jammal Lindo, Jaleel Baron, and Kyle Mullings, were taken into federal custody on Wednesday or on Thursday morning and were to be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis on Thursday, according to the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office.
Another defendant, Ali Hamilton, was already in federal custody on related charges and was arraigned Thursday, prosecutors said. Defendant Norman Edwards was arrested Thursday in Allentown, Pennsylvania, while defendant Maurice Simmons remained at large Thursday, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors alleged that the defendants were part of the Beach Avenue Crew, which operated in and around the Bronx from at least 2009 up until this past February, prosecutors said. The gang sold crack cocaine primarily around Beach Avenue in the Bronx, prosecutors said.
The gang controlled crack sales in the area by prohibiting and preventing non-members, outsiders, and rival drug dealers from selling, prosecutors said.
The gang engaged in violence against rival gang members from nearby crews and rival drug dealers, prosecutors said. The violence included assaults and attempted murders, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors alleged in particular that defendants Lindo, Lessage and Baron shot at a rival drug dealer and a second person on Aug. 2 of last year, wounding the rival dealer. On May 5, 2015, defendant Hamilton allegedly shot at a member of a rival crew on Leland Avenue and injured a bystander.
“As alleged, through the sale of crack cocaine and their violent conflict with rival crews, the Beach Avenue Crew wreaked havoc on the streets of the Bronx,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a news release. “We and our law enforcement partners are determined to combat alleged gang and drug violence in the Bronx through charges like those brought today.”