Tuesday, August 10, 2021

11 Members and Associates of the Folk Nation Gangster Disciples Charged with Multiple Shootings and Related Firearms Offenses in Brooklyn

 Arrests are the Result of a Joint Federal-State Effort to Dismantle Violent Gangs

A 20-count superseding indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Oluwagbenga Agoro, Lorenzo Bailey, Quincy Battice, Davon Brown, Hans Destine, Jean Fremont, Ricardo Hepburn, McKoy Lima, Triston Lawrence, Deryck Thompson and Michael Williams with violent crimes in-aid-of racketeering — including attempted murder and related firearms offenses.  As alleged in the indictment, the defendants are members and associates of the Folk Nation Gangster Disciples, also known as “GD.” Bailey, Destine, Fremont, and Thompson are leaders of the No Love City (“NLC”) subset of GD, with Destine and Fremont serving on NLC’s five-member “Steering Committee” — its top leadership.  Additionally, during the execution of search warrants this morning, investigators recovered three firearms at Destine’s residence, one firearm at Lawrence’s residence, one from Thompson’s residence and one from Bailey’s residence in Georgia.

Destine, Fremont, Hepburn, Lawrence, Lima, Thompson and Williams were arrested this morning in Brooklyn and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara.  Bailey and Battice were arrested this morning in Atlanta, Georgia, and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Catherine M. Salinas at the federal courthouse in Atlanta.  Agoro and Brown were already in federal custody on prior charges and will be arraigned at a later date. 

Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Jacqueline Maguire, Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Eric Gonzalez, District Attorney, Kings County District Attorney’s Office (KCDA), and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the arrests and charges.

“As the indictment makes clear, violent street gangs like the Folk Nation Gangster Disciples can commit a shocking amount of violence and inflict a tremendous amount of harm, which endangers entire communities if left unchecked,” stated Acting United States Attorney Kasulis.  “This Office and its federal, state and local law enforcement partners will spare no effort in targeting and prosecuting violent individuals and street gangs that intentionally wreak havoc in our communities by possessing and wantonly discharging loaded weapons with no regard for human life.  Street gangs in Brooklyn should be on notice that we will use every resource available to rid our communities of this needless violence.”  Ms. Kasulis expressed her grateful appreciation to the FBI/NYPD Metro Safe Streets Task Force, the NYPD’s Gun Violence Suppression Division, and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for their outstanding work and assistance in this investigation and prosecution.

“Two gang takedowns over the past two days demonstrates our commitment to pursue the violent criminals who choose to terrorize our communities,” stated FBI Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge Maguire.  “The litany of crimes we allege in this case is demonstrative of the fear and frustration facing far too many New York City communities.  Our work through the FBI/NYPD Metro Safe Streets Task Force will continue relentlessly until residents can feel safe again.”

“This important takedown is part of our multi-pronged and ongoing strategy of focusing on the most violent offenders in our community, who are largely responsible for the surge in shootings we experienced last summer. With today’s arrests, leaders of a dangerous street gang have been incapacitated, which I believe will have a positive impact on public safety in Brooklyn. I’m grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the NYPD and my prosecutors for their outstanding work on this investigation. We will continue to work together in partnership and use every law enforcement resource available to us to help drive down gun and gang violence,” stated KCDA Gonzalez.

“Targeting and dismantling gangs and crews, and preventing the violence so often associated with their illegal activities, continues to be among the highest priorities for the NYPD and our law enforcement partners. We remain relentless in our efforts to identify, arrest, and prosecute anyone who involves themselves in violence on our streets,” stated NYPD Commissioner Shea.

As alleged in the indictment and other court filings, the charges relate to seven non-fatal shootings committed in Brooklyn over the course of 2020 in which six individuals were wounded.

The March 14, 2020 Shooting

As alleged, on March 14, 2020, Brown was involved in the shooting of a victim for perceived disrespect towards GD.  An individual with the victim threw a drink inside the Gold Room Restaurant and Lounge in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, splashing a person standing with Brown.  An argument ensued, and the victim, a Crips gang member, flashed a gang sign known as “dropping the rake” — a gesture intended to be insulting to GD.  The argument continued outside the bar where Brown displayed a gun and fired a shot into the air.  Brown then handed the gun to a coconspirator who walked behind the victim and shot the victim in the buttocks at close range.  The gun was recovered by law enforcement and Brown’s DNA was found on the weapon. 

The July 24, 2020 Shooting

As alleged, on July 24, 2020, Michael Williams was involved in the shooting of two individuals in Prospect Park South.  On the previous evening, a member of GD had been shot and Williams and others took him to the hospital.  After leaving the hospital, Williams and other members of GD retaliated against the Crips gang by driving to an area of Brooklyn they believed to be Crip territory where Williams and another gunman opened fire into a crowd of people, wounding two victims in the knee and chest.   

The August 2, 2020 Shooting

On August 2, 2020, Lawrence allegedly shot at a Crips gang member in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.  Prior to the shooting, the intended target of the shooting had been walking through a part of Prospect Lefferts Gardens known as GD territory while broadcasting himself on Instagram Live mocking GD.  Immediately after the shooting, Lawrence sent an encrypted message to Brown using the Telegram encrypted application stating that he had just “boomed at” the intended target. 

The November 2020 Shootings

As alleged, on November 7 and 9, 2020, Agoro, Bailey, Battice, Destine, Fremont, Hepburn, Lima and Thompson engaged in four separate drive-by shootings in Canarsie, Prospect Park South, and Brownsville, during which three victims were wounded.  In the first November 7 shooting, Agoro, Bailey, Battice, Fremont and Thompson drove to Canarsie, where they shot at a group of individuals.  The defendants then drove back to Thompson’s residence, before setting out again for a second shooting in Canarsie, during which two individuals were wounded in their legs.  On November 9, 2020, Agoro, Destine, Hepburn and Thompson drove to Prospect Park South, where they shot at a group of individuals but did not hit anyone.  Later that same day, Agoro, Fremont, Hepburn, Lima and Thompson drove to Brownsville for another shooting, where one victim was shot in the shoulder and grazed in her back. 

These indictments are part of a coordinated effort to dismantle the Brooklyn sets of GD and their leadership by federal and state authorities, including the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the KCDA, the Joint FBI-NYPD Safe Streets Task Force, and the NYPD’s Gun Violence Suppression Division.  As part of the federal-state initiative, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the KCDA have brought multiple prosecutions against members and associates of GD.

The charges in the indictments are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Siegel and Kayla C. Bensing along with Special Assistant United States Attorneys Gillian DiPietro and James Slattery are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

OLUWAGBENGA AGORO (also known as “Gee Banga”)
Age:  21
Brooklyn, New York

LORENZO BAILEY (also known as “Renzo” and “St. Clair Bailey”)
Age:  32
Brooklyn, New York

QUINCY BATTICE (also known as “Hush Dinero” and “George Ayala”)
Age:  32
Brooklyn, New York

DAVON BROWN (also known as “Chico Dinero”)
Age:  27
Brooklyn, New York

HANS DESTINE (also known as “YL Flocks”)
Age:  30
Brooklyn, New York

JEAN FREMONT (also known as “Juno” and “Bigga Twirl”)
Age:  30
Brooklyn, New York

RICARDO HEPBURN (also known as “Riko Floxks”)
Age:  19
Brooklyn, New York

TRISTON LAWRENCE (also known as “Birdy Flock”)
Age:  27
Brooklyn, New York

McKOY LIMA (also known as “Mak”)
Age:  26
Brooklyn, New York

DERYCK THOMPSON (also known as “Benzo,” “DBenzo” and “Kenzie”)
Age:  22
Brooklyn, New York

MICHAEL WILLIAMS (also known as “Mikey Floxks” and “Mikey Gzz”)
Age:  19
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket Nos. 20-CR-293 (S-1) (WFK)

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