STATEN ISLAND, NY – Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. and NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrests of 39 individuals, 33 of whom have been indicted on a variety of crimes including conspiring to commit murder, attempted murder, possessing and transporting illegal firearms, distributing and selling cocaine, stealing motorcycles and burglarizing homes.
“This carefully orchestrated takedown is the culmination of 16 months of hard work by my prosecutors and the dedicated detectives of Narcotics Bureau Staten Island and the Staten Island Gang Squad. The investigation was given the codename ‘Operation Mayberry’ because one of the defendants goes by the nickname ‘Opie,’ but he and the other defendants are nothing like the lovable characters portrayed in the 1960s TV program ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ ” said DA Donovan. “These 39 individuals are accused of committing crimes and conspiring to commit crimes that would shock and appall Sheriff Taylor. But this isn’t a fictional TV show, this is real life – with the lives of Staten Islanders being put in real danger – and there are real consequences for breaking the law.”
The far-reaching investigation included the use of undercover police officers, electronic surveillance and physical surveillance, and recovered guns coming from Georgia and drugs coming from Mexico, Canada, Texas and Pennsylvania.
Many of the defendants were operating out of the following Staten Island neighborhoods: Port Richmond, West Brighton, New Brighton and Mariners Harbor. The drugs were sold in the following Staten Island neighborhoods: Heartland Village, West Brighton and Great Kills.
“When known Bloods gang members and affiliates make it their business to traffic drugs and guns around Staten Island's North Shore, NYPD investigators make it theirs to stop them,” said NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. “I commend the NYPD Narcotics and Gang Divisions for pursuing and apprehending these subjects, some of whom have histories so violent that they include running over rivals with a motor vehicle, along with their counterparts in the Staten Island District Attorney's office, for ensuring their business is dismantled and bringing the subjects to justice.”
Six firearms were recovered during the investigation, including a .38-caliber revolver, a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, a loaded 20-guage cuts-down shotgun, a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol and a .357- caliber revolver, as well as assorted ammunition. More than one kilogram of cocaine was also seized during the operation on Staten Island. An additional 21 kilos were seized in Loredo, Texas – destined for distribution on Staten Island.
Search warrants were executed beginning last Friday evening and detectives also recovered crack cocaine, marijuana plants, marijuana and assorted ammunition.
“These defendants wreaked havoc on Staten Island by committing numerous violent crimes, dealing dangerous drugs and possessing and selling deadly weapons. They will now be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” concluded DA Donovan.
One indictment accuses SHATIEK “Sha-gotti” DANIELS, KENNETH “Shugs” WILLIAMS, NAYONDELI “Nana” NEGRON, JERRY “Poe” LEVERETTE, JERMAINE “Maica” HEWITT and WALTER “YH” HARRIS of possessing illegal firearms from out of state in order to effectuate the shooting of LAWRENCE “L” BROWNING. There were three separate attempts made on BROWNING’s life, and the plans included buying guns in Georgia, transporting them back to Staten Island and paying two hitmen to shoot BROWNING. BROWNING was also indicted because during one of the botched murder attempts, he hit his would-be assailant, LEVERETTE, with a motor vehicle. MARY ZANCOCCHIO, GERARD “Gerry” GALLO, JADE NIGHTSTAR and ISAIAH “Dib” KELSON also conspired to and did possess and sell loaded firearms in Staten Island.
A second indictment details how DANIELS, ZANCOCCHIO, WILLIAMS, NEGRON and GALLO conspired to and did receive and distribute cocaine on Staten Island and New Jersey. The defendants spoke in code when discussing the particulars of the drug operation.
A third indictment details how ZANCOCCHIO and CLINTON “KC” JAMES sold cocaine several times on Staten Island.
A fourth indictment details how international drug supplier RAPHAEL “Ralph” LOLOS, his partner STEWART “Stew” GUIMARAES, LEVERETTE, CHINEIL “Neil” WILLIAMS and WILLIAM CICCONE conspired to and did obtain kilograms of cocaine from various narcotics suppliers in foreign countries, package said cocaine, and then distribute and sell said cocaine in Staten Island, New Jersey and the New York City area. The defendants spoke in code when discussing the particulars of the drug operation.
A fifth indictment details how CHRISTOPHER “Opie” DOWD, RAUMELL “Romey” DURAN, SUNDRA FRANKS, TAALIB “Sleezy” BAXTER, ANTHONY “Twink” MARSHALL, JAMES “J-Champ” CHAMPAGNE, REHULITA “Tina” HALL, KEITH “Sweat” ARTIS, EFRAIN “Ef” MACK, ANTHONY “Coop” COOPER, ADELINE MANISCALCO and JANARD WILLIAMS conspired to and did receive, possess and distribute cocaine in Staten Island and the New York City area. The defendants spoke in code when discussing the particulars of the drug operation.
A sixth indictment details how DOWD, MARSHALL, EDDIE “Chavez” LORENZO and NICHOLAS “Nick” LaPIERRE conspired to and did steal, receive and resell motorcycles and motorcycle parts in Staten Island and elsewhere. The defendants spoke in code when discussing the particulars of the motorcycle operation.
A seventh indictment details how DOWD and ALAFIA “Laf” RODRIGUEZ conspired to and did burglarize homes in Staten Island to take property including but not limited to jewelry, firearms, electronics, drugs and marijuana. The defendants spoke in code when discussing and planning the burglaries.
The eighth indictment details how SHELDON “Shells” BELL sold cocaine to undercover officers on repeated occasions.
Also arrested as part of the investigation was ALLAH “Lah” SEARS, who possessed large quantities of cocaine.
Assistant District Attorneys Kelly Carroll and Michele Molfetta, both of the Investigations Bureau, are handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney David Frey, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Bureau, and Amy Legow, Chief of the Investigations Bureau.
The lead NYPD investigators on the case were the Staten Island Gang Squad, and Narcotics Bureau Staten Island; the Field Team was comprised of Narcotics Bureau and Gang Squad detectives acting under the direction of Assistant Chief Joseph Reznick, commanding officer of the Narcotics Division, and Deputy Chief Theresa Shortell, commanding officer of the Gang Division. Both divisions fall under the supervision of Chief Thomas Purtell, head of the NYPD Organized Crime Control Bureau.