The Chicago Syndicate

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

11 Charged in Federal Indictment for Alleged Supplying Fentanyl, Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, Heroin and Marijuana to Baltimore Drug Dealers #TheWire #Baltimore

A 16-month investigation by the Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force into drug dealing in Baltimore has led to eleven alleged wholesale drug suppliers being charged in a federal indictment for conspiracy, drug distribution, and firearms charges. The indictment was returned under seal on July 29, 2021 and was unsealed upon the arrests of the defendants. Charged in the indictment are:

  • Rigby Dukes, a/k/a “Panama,” age 54, of Baltimore;
  • Kevin Fuller, age 55, of Baltimore;
  • Jimmye Howard, age 32, of Baltimore;
  • Thomas Jones, a/k/a “Pooda,” age 52, of Baltimore;
  • Eugene Link, age 40, of Baltimore;
  • Khyle Paige, age 30, of Baltimore;
  • Fred Primus, age 47, of Washington, D.C.;
  • Keith Smith, a/k/a “Fat Keith,” age 39, of Gwynn Oak, Maryland;
  • Phillip Washington, age 53, of Windsor Mill, Maryland;
  • Ronald White, a/k/a “Ron,” age 53, of Towson, Maryland;
  • Eric Wilson, a/k/a “E” and “Remy,” age 50, of Owings Mills, Maryland.

The indictment was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Tom Carr, Executive Director of the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Administration.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner stated, “The Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force will continue to target large scale drug distributors and areas where violence is fueled by armed drug dealers. We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to prosecute the suppliers and street level drug dealers to get them off of our streets, and to reducing violent crime in our neighborhoods. This indictment focuses on those importing bulk quantities of dangerous drugs into Baltimore, and is an important step in our efforts to make our communities safer.”

“Today’s charges serve as a great example of the effective partnerships we’ve forged and, our commitment to protecting the residents of this great city. These 11 individuals represent the top tier of drug traffickers here in the city of Baltimore,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene. “They were responsible for supplying a vast number of drug shops across the city, and fueling addiction and violence across the Baltimore Metropolitan area. Taking these prolific criminals off of our streets is a step toward making Baltimore a safer place.”

“This indictment comes as the result of a continued regional commitment to reduce violence and protect our communities,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt. “The significant amounts of weapons and drugs seized during this multi-jurisdictional operation will help keep our neighborhoods safe and prevent future violence.”

“The Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force program exemplifies multi-agency collaboration and our shared commitment to creating a safer, stronger Baltimore,” said Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “As drug organizations become more sophisticated in the way they operate, we will continue to elevate our data-driven tactics, superior collaboration and consistent partnership among local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to work together to fight the violence on our streets.”

Over the course of this investigation, law enforcement executed 55 search warrants on people, locations and vehicles, seized approximately $722,334 in cash; more than four kilograms of fentanyl—enough to kill 200,000 people; more than 10 kilograms of cocaine; more than a kilogram of a heroin/fentanyl mixture; 914 grams of crack cocaine; a total of 258 grams of a crack or cocaine/fentanyl mixture; a quantity of marijuana; as well as six firearms, three magazines, ammunition, and a silencer; and more than 62 cell phones used to facilitate the business. Law enforcement also seized drug packaging material, digital scales, cutting agents, and money counters.

According to the 11-count indictment and information provided to the Court, the defendants distributed heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana to customers, including to each other. The indictment alleges that members of the conspiracy sold bulk quantities of narcotics to other drug traffickers who, in turn, redistributed the narcotics in and around Baltimore. The conspirators allegedly cut the heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine with other substances to maximize their profits, and used residences in and around Baltimore to process, repackage, and prepare heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana for distribution. Further, the indictment alleges that the members of the conspiracy possessed firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities, including this conspiracy.

The defendants face a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison for the conspiracy; Dukes face a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in prison for the count of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and Smith, White, and Wilson face a mandatory maximum of 10 years in federal prison for each count of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances; Link and Paige face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for each count of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances; Paige faces a maximum of five years in federal prison for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and Jones faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. All of the defendants have had an initial appearance. White was ordered to be detained, pending a detention hearing on August 11, 2021, and the remaining defendants were released with conditions, under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is 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.

This prosecution was brought as a part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Co-located Strike Forces Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations against a continuum of priority targets and their affiliate illicit financial networks. These prosecutor-led co-located Strike Forces capitalize on the synergy created through the long-term relationships that can be forged by agents, analysts, and prosecutors who remain together over time, and they epitomize the model that has proven most effective in combating organized crime. The specific mission of the Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force is to reduce violent, drug-related, and gang crime in the Baltimore area and surrounding region.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the DEA, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Baltimore Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Washington-Baltimore HIDTA for their work in the investigation and thanked the Baltimore City and Baltimore County State’s Attorneys’ Offices for their assistance. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys LaRai Everett and James T. Wallner, who are prosecuting the case.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

4 Members of the “Ninedee Gang” Indicted for Racketeering and the Murder of a Former Federal Witness #Brooklyn #Gangs

Yesterday, a nine-count superseding indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charging four members of the Ninedee Gang, a violent street gang based at the Louis H. Pink Houses (“Pink Houses”) in East New York, with racketeering, murder in-aid-of racketeering, drug trafficking, firearms offenses and robbery. The new charges were announced against defendants Quintin Green, Chayanne Fernandez, Maliek Miller and Kevin Wint. Green and Wint were arrested this morning and will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr. Fernandez and Miller were already in federal custody as a result of prior charges and will be arraigned at 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), and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the arrests and charges.

“It is our hope that today’s charges against members of the Ninedee Gang bring some solace to the family of Shatavia Walls as we seek justice for her senseless, cold-blooded murder,” stated Acting United States Attorney Kasulis. “This Office and its law enforcement partners are committed to ending the brutality that violent gangs so wantonly inflict on citizens in our communities. I commend the FBI special agents and the NYPD detectives for their relentless investigative work on the case.”

“This investigation serves as a warning to criminals who behave as if there are no consequences to their actions. We have the ability in the federal criminal justice system to put these violent gang members away for a long time, and we will persist in our efforts to get them off the streets. Our outstanding partnership with the NYPD allows us to pursue the most violent and persistent offenders and hold them accountable for their blatant disregard for human life and safe communities,” stated FBI Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge Maguire.

“The NYPD remains committed to providing every resource possible to dismantling the violent gangs and crews that prey on New Yorkers. I commend our police investigators and the prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for leading us to justice with this federal indictment,” stated NYPD Commissioner Shea.

As detailed in the superseding indictment and court filings, the Ninedee Gang is a criminal enterprise operating in East New York, Brooklyn. The gang’s leaders, including Wint, promoted the gang on social media and in rap videos, highlighting its violence, drug sales and fraudulent activities.

The plan to kill Walls was allegedly hatched by Green, Fernandez, Miller and others following a dispute on the Fourth of July 2020 over the lighting of fireworks. During a confrontation with the victim, Miller called her a “snitch” and fired a gunshot into the air. Walls had been called as a government witness one year earlier during a federal criminal trial in Brooklyn and testified that she had been shot by another Pink Houses gang member.

On the evening of July 7, 2020, Ninedee Gang members, including Green and a juvenile male, opened fire on Walls as she walked through a courtyard at the Pink Houses. Walls was shot multiple times and succumbed to the gunshot wounds on July 17, 2020. Ballistic evidence recovered from the scene of the fatal shooting showed that one of the handguns used to kill Walls matched the firearm used by Miller on the Fourth of July. In the days following Walls’ murder, the defendants posted on Facebook a newspaper article about the murder and claimed credit on behalf of the Ninedee Gang.

Additionally, Green is charged with the Hobbs Act robbery of a Target store on Staten Island on November 3, 2020; Wint with access device fraud; Fernandez, Miller and Wint with conspiracy to distribute marijuana; and Green, Fernandez and Miller with unlawful use and possession of firearms.

If convicted of murder in-aid-of racketeering, Green, Fernandez and Miller face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment and are eligible for the death penalty. If convicted of racketeering, Wint faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, and up to 15 years’ imprisonment for accessory after the fact to Walls’s murder.

The Defendants:

QUINTIN GREEN (also known as “Wild Child”) Age: 20, Brooklyn, New York

CHAYANNE FERNANDEZ (also known as “White Boy”) Age: 21, Brooklyn, New York

MALIEK MILLER (also known as “Leak”) Age: 27, Brooklyn, New York

KEVIN WINT (also known as “Kev G”) Age: 27, Brooklyn, New York

Monday, August 09, 2021

Murder in Canaryville: The True Story Behind a Cold Case and a Chicago Cover-Up

Murder in Canaryville: The True Story Behind a Cold Case and a Chicago Cover-Up

The cold-case murder of John Hughes, the son of a Chicago Outfit member suspected of pulling the trigger, and the efforts of a determined detective to unravel a cover-up.

The grandson and great-grandson of Chicago police officers, Chicago Police Detective James Sherlock was CPD through-and-through. His career had seen its share of twists and turns, from his time working undercover to thwart robberies on Chicago's L trains to his years as a homicide detective. He thought he had seen it all.

But on this day, he was at the records center to see the case file for the murder of John Hughes, who was seventeen years old when he was gunned down on Chicago's Southwest Side in 1976. The case's threads led everywhere: Police corruption. Hints of the Chicago Outfit. A crooked judge. Even the belief that the cover-up extended to "hizzoner" himself—legendary Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley.

A murder that had roiled the city and had been investigated for years had been reduced to a few reports and photographs. What should have been a massive file with notes and transcripts from dozens of interviews was nowhere to be found. Sherlock could have left the records center without the folder and cruised into retirement, and no one would have noticed.

Instead, he tucked the envelope under his arm and carried it outside.

"A real-life crime drama with vivid individuals and neighborhoods. A murder unsolved until now after forty years. It portrays the unvarnished Chicago of yesterday...absolutely a must read." —Dick Simpson, author of The Good Fight

Thursday, August 05, 2021

With the Street Gangs Shooting Out of Control throughout the City, would Chicago Be Safer if the Mafia was Again in Charge?

When I was a kid and told people not from Chicago, the city of my birth and upbringing, where I was from, it wasn’t uncommon for them to raise their arms as if holding a machine gun, murmur ratatatatatat, then utter “ Al Capone. ” Capone died in 1947, but Chicago and violence have ever after been linked. And now that link is more firmly established than ever, given the murder and shooting statistics announced at the end of every weekend in the city.

After Prohibition, crime in Chicago moved from bootlegging to gambling, prostitution, and loan-sharking. These operations were run by a group of mostly Italian and some Jewish gangsters known variously as the Syndicate, the Mob, the Boys, the Outfit, never for some reason called the Mafia.

Under the Syndicate such crime tended to be perpetrated on those who couldn’t pay their gambling or loan debts or attempted to step into territory thought to be exclusively the Syndicate’s. A friend of mine whose father had a strong taste for corruption bought a controlling interest in a few prizefighters. One thing leading to another, soon he found himself being simultaneously pursued by a murderous thug named Felix “Milwaukee Phil” Alderisio and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Fortunately, the FBI got to him first.

Occasionally the body of someone with the hubris to betray the Syndicate would be found in the trunk of a car in a church or hotel parking lot. These crimes were horrendous but controlled, their victims carefully targeted, everyone else in the city left to go about his business.

With the uncontrolled and ubiquitous nature of current crime in Chicago, one almost feels nostalgia for old Syndicate figures such as Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo, Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik and Sam “Momo” Giancana. They might bully someone on a golf course, or take over the best tables at city steakhouses, but they didn’t shoot into crowds, hijack your car, or wantonly kill children. In their day, the local television news didn’t open with yet another mother weeping over her murdered child.

For a time much of the violence in Chicago was confined to a small number of neighborhoods on the city’s south and west sides. More than 80% of such crimes in Chicago are said to be perpetrated by young black men, most of them members of rivaling gangs. Living outside those neighborhoods, one felt sad for the scores of innocent people killed but felt relatively safe oneself.

That has now changed. Muggings and murders in Chicago are now taking place in once quiet middle-class neighborhoods such as Rogers Park and even in swanky ones such as Streeterville. A new crime du jour in the city is the hit-and-run, the perpetrator as often as not driving a stolen car.

Such has been the spread of crime in Chicago, I now find I lock my door as soon as I get in my car; I leave a full space between my car and the car in front of me at stoplights, allowing room to swerve away from any potential carjackers. I don’t check my phone at stoplights. I walk the streets of Chicago warily, even in relatively safe neighborhoods, and seldom go out at night.

Meanwhile, the city’s officials—Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Police Chief David Brown, Cook County prosecutor Kim Foxx —pass the buck. The mayor appears to believe that the chief problem is getting the guns off the street, but she is more likely to eliminate mosquitoes than guns from Chicago. The police chief blames Ms. Foxx for releasing people brought in for gun crimes without bail, while Ms. Foxx reports that owing to Covid her office has a backlog of some 35,000 felony cases. So the unmerry-go-round goes, where it stops nobody knows.

Where it ought to stop is at the doubtless difficult but necessary task of breaking up the city’s street gangs. Some argue that gangs are the only refuge for young black men in a country where systemic racism reigns and they are its primary victims. These young men have no jobs, it is said; education for them is a dead end, it is argued. Progress in race relations, they are told, is nonexistent. The people who propagate this nonsense call for more programs: in mentoring, in psychotherapy, in advanced French, in whatever else you’ve got.

One wonders, though, if a start might be made by banishing all such talk, from charges of systemic racism to the cry for more programs, and to back it up by enforcing heavy penalties for gun crimes as a way of letting their perpetrators know that stiff jail sentences remain the best program on record for putting a stop to violent and vicious crime.

Thanks to Joseph Epstein.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Boss of Huge Sinaloa Cartel-Linked Fentanyl and Heroin Trafficking Network Put Away for 33 Years #OperationCookout

The ringleader behind an extensive drug trafficking ring was sentenced to 33 years in prison for distributing large amounts of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine in Newport News and North Carolina.

“This defendant served in a significant leadership role as the regional distributor of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine for the Sinaloa Cartel, one of the most prolific and violent cartels in the world,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “EDVA will continue working with our law enforcement partners to combat these transnational criminal organizations in order to protect the health and safety of our communities.”

According to court documents, Ramiro Ramirez-Barreto, 44, from the Mexican State of Morelos, operated a continuing criminal enterprise with ties to Virginia, North Carolina, and California. Ramirez-Barreto was linked to the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico, as were his drug sources, and his operation supplied cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl to numerous drug trafficking organizations in Newport News, Virginia, and in Henderson and Greensboro, North Carolina. According to one of Ramirez-Barreto’s many North Carolina customers, Ramirez-Barreto supplied him with 60 kilograms of heroin from early 2018 to mid-2019. Another one of Ramirez-Barreto’s customers was an inmate in federal prison operating a drug trafficking organization in Henderson, North Carolina, using a bootleg mobile phone.

In addition to his sentence, Ramirez-Barreto was ordered to pay a forfeiture money judgment of $4,200,000 and forfeit his house in Lawrenceville. Barreto was arrested in 2019 as a result of Operation Cookout.

Background on Operation Cookout

In August 2019, over 120 law enforcement officers from 30 law enforcement agencies in Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas executed a major operation, known as Operation Cookout, which resulted in 35 defendants being arrested for their respective roles in the conspiracy, along with the seizure of 24 firearms, 30 kilograms of fentanyl, 30 kilograms of heroin, 5 kilograms of cocaine, and over $700,000 in cash.
To date, 45 total defendants have been charged in Operation Cookout. All 45 defendants have admitted their criminal conduct and pleaded guilty. Thus far, 41 defendants have been sentenced, with the majority being sentenced to prisons terms ranging from two to ten years, and five defendants sentenced between 15 to 25 years in prison.

These prosecutions are part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force’s (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

The following law enforcement agencies provided significant assistance during the investigation and arrest operation: U.S. Marshals Service, Newport News Sheriff’s Office, Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office, York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Amarillo Police, and Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. Approximately 30 law enforcement agencies assisted in the arrest operation in Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas.

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