NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens grand jury on Wednesday indicted 13 alleged Rockaway gang members and associates, on allegations that they conspired to attack and kill rival gang members, and to acquire guns for turf control and revenge shootings.
The defendants were all alleged to belong to a violent street gang known as 70G/G-Boyz, according to the office of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
They allegedly controlled a section of the Arverne neighborhood at the points of their guns, and were behind shootings that wounded five people.
“The defendants are variously accused of turning the streets of Rockaway into the Wild West by acting in concert with one or more of their co-defendants to shoot and wound five individuals and firing weapons at no less than four other individuals,” Brown said in a news release. “Their alleged criminal and violent acts have no place in a civilized society.”
The defendants – between the ages of 16 and 22 – allegedly operated between Beach 62nd and Beach 73rd streets, and are allegedly behind numerous shootings in the area, according to prosecutors and the NYPD.
“Let this investigation be a warning to those who use the streets of New York City as their personal battleground for gang activity – the NYPD has no tolerance for such violent acts and we will use all available resources to remove you from our neighborhoods in order to make this city safe and fair everywhere for everyone,” police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a news release.
Those charged include:
Taedwon Lyons, 17, accused in two shootings of rival gang members and the shooting of a 12-year-old girl;
Joshua Simon, 21, charged in the shooting of two rival gang members and a third shooting involving another person;
Michael Motta, 23, charged in the shooting of two rival gang members;
Dwayne Lyons, 16, charged in the shooting of four rival gang members;
Kane Motta, 16, charged in the firing of shots at rival gang members;
Ashanti Brown, 18, charged with conspiracy;
Michael Gilliam, 22, charged in the shooting of rival gang member and in the firing of shots at other rival gang members;
Matthew Robinson, 19, charged in the shooting of a rival gang member;
Isaiah Boyd, 21, charged in the shooting of a rival gang member;
Brandon Fuentes, 22, charged with conspiracy;
Diequan Underwoood, 20, charged with firing shots at rival gang members and with assaulting a police officer;
Jordane Maurice Gayle, 16, charged in the shooting of a rival gang member;
Tamar Horton, 16, charged in the shooting of a rival gang member.
The indictments followed an investigation by the NYPD Queens South Violence Reduction Task Force and the Queens District Attorney’s office Narcotics Investigations Bureau, prosecutors said. They monitored phone conversations and discussions social media pages belonging to alleged gang members, prosecutors said.
In one instance, alleged 70Gs member Simon allegedly fired shots at rival gang members on April 13 of last year, and hit someone else by mistake, prosecutors said. He took to social media and apologized to the victim afterward, prosecutors alleged.
Authorities also listened in on calls made at Rikers Island, where Simon allegedly admitted twice that he and defendant Michael Motta shot a rival gang member on Feb. 17, 2014, and defendant Robinson also allegedly admitted that he shot a rival gang member, prosecutors said.
The 70Gs were pitted against two other gangs – the Body Squad and FLOCC, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors alleged the adult 70Gs members also instructed juveniles between 14 and 16 years old to kill rival gang members and to carry firearms for older members, prosecutors said.
In a separate indictment, Michael Motta is charged with attempted murder and other counts for allegedly firing a stolen gun several times at rival gang members at 65th Street and Thursby Avenue in Queens on March 13 of this year, prosecutors said. Prosecutors claimed when gunshots were exchanged between Motta and the rival gang members, numerous pedestrians ran from the site – where P.S. 42 is also located.
Motta also allegedly point a gun at a police officer before dropping it, prosecutors said.
The defendants were to be arraigned Wednesday in Queens Supreme Court.