Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the takedown of two violent street gangs that terrorized East New York for three years, the Rockstarz and the VCG/Weez Gang (Very Crispy Gangsters), and four separate indictments charging 49 members of the two gangs.
“Using Facebook for anti-social networking, these thugs even ‘friended’ their enemies, so they could post violent threats to rival gang members,” said DA Hynes. “I would like to thank Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD for their help in shutting down these gangs and protecting the residents of East New York.
Police Commissioner Kelly said, “Detectives used social media as well as good old fashioned police work to track these killers. I want to commend District Attorney Hynes and his team for their outstanding work and partnership in bringing these dangerous suspects to justice.”
The indictments charge the two gangs with engaging in a three-year war that began with the shooting of VCG gang member Taquan “Tay Weez” Crandell, by Rockstarz gang member Michael Allen Reid, in September 2009. In addition to the Crandell shooting, the indictment against the Rockstarz charges members with the shooting death of VCG member Namadi Simpson, on April 9, 2010, and Johnny Santiago, who was beaten to death on June 6, 2011, while in an area of East New York the Rockstarz claimed was their territory.
Members of both gangs made and accepted “friend” requests among their rivals’ gangs, so they could post threats to one another. The indictment charges that at least one such comment made reference to Simpson’s murder. After Santiago’s murder, Rockstarz members posted comments, including, “Rockstarz are up 3-0” on Facebook, according to the indictments. Other Rockstarz members posted Facebook photos of VCG members featuring threatening captions, the indictment charges.
The indictment charges that the gangs also cooperated to prevent witnesses from testifying against members of either gang. In a recorded phone call, from Riker’s Island, Rockstarz member Geraldo Mena told VCG member Brandon Matos the names of VCG witnesses who would testify against Mena, and Matos offered to take actions that would prevent the witnesses from making their court appearance.
The two indictments against VCG members charge them with multiple shootings, including two that struck innocent bystanders. One occurred on Sept. 1, 2010, when VCG member Quashawn Smith fired a gun into Miller Park, which was claimed by the Rockstarz, and struck a 10-year-old boy in the neck, while he sat watching television in his own home, according to the indictment. The indictment charges that another occurred at 9:00 a.m. this past May 14, when VCG member Darnell Jones hit an innocent bystander, while attempting to shoot a member of the Rockstarz.
On Nov. 15, 2011, Marcus Worrell, attempting to avenge the death of Johnny Santiago, shot someone outside Santiago’s former home, whom Worrell believed was in the Rockstarz, according to the indictment. After ballistics evidence from that crime scene matched that from shootings of Rockstarz members on Nov. 18, 2011, and Nov. 23, 2011, the VCG was charged in those shootings too.
The defendants include 22 Rockstarz members and 27 VCG members. They range in age, from 16 to 23.
Eleven members of the VCG gang and 16 members of the Rockstarz gang are charged with Conspiracy in the First Degree. Some are also charged with Murder in the Second Degree, Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, and 16 are charged additionally with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
The case was investigated by NYPD officers from Brooklyn North Patrol, Brooklyn North Gang Squad, Major Crimes Detective Squad and the 75th Precinct Detective Squad.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Lauren Artese, of the Gang Bureau, and Michael Perkins, Gang Bureau First Deputy Bureau Chief. Deanna Rodriguez is Chief of the Gang Bureau.