EXCLUSIVE: Read The Complete List Of Crimes Allegedly Committed By Casanova And The United Gorilla Stone Nation

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Casanova could be heading to prison for at LEAST 15 years, while other members of the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation could face life in prison for murder, slashings, beatings, robberies and more acts of violence.

(AllHipHop Exclusives) 

The Feds Indictment charges rap star Casanova the Gorilla Stone defendants with a litany of crimes committed in furtherance of their joint enterprise. The charges include racketeering conspiracy, a large-scale narcotics conspiracy, firearms offenses, fraud, and, significantly, several acts of violence.

Casanova has entered into a not guilty plea, as have all of the defendants listed below.

The violent acts charged in the Indictment include a murder, two attempted murders, two gunpoint drug robberies, and a brutal slashing. The evidence in this case is compelling. Through the course of this investigation, law enforcement obtained six Title III orders for interception of communications over four phones belonging to defendants Naya Austin, a/k/a “Baby,” Ahmed Walker, a/k/a “Ammo,” Christopher Erskine, a/k/a “Beagle,” and Walter Luster, a/k/a “Shells.”

The majority of the defendants in this case were intercepted discussing the Gorilla Stone enterprise over these wiretaps. And for all defendants, law enforcement was able to obtain direct evidence of the charged crimes through dozens of social media warrants, cellphone extractions, recorded prison calls, surveillance video and cellphone location data, and post-arrest interviews. Put simply, the evidence in this case— some of which is discussed below—in large measure, is made up of the defendants’ own words, writings, and recorded criminal acts.

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“As you already know, I am fighting serious charges right now. I’m innocent, that’s #1. 2.) I’ve been fighting my whole life, so I’ll get through this. Just understand how they can get you jammed up. If you don’t know nobody you ain’t got nothing to do with nothing and they still get you jammed up. Rappers we are targets. Be careful out there, watch who you associate with, watch who people bring you around. I’ll see yall soon, god willing.” Casanova

 

The Origin Of The Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation

Gorilla Stone is a violent street gang with a national presence that was founded by Dwight Reid, a/k/a “Dick Wolf.” Gorilla Stone has hundreds of members across New York State, including in all five boroughs of New York City, throughout the New York State Prison System, and across the country—most notably in Florida and North Carolina.

Gorilla Stone is comprised of eight different sets (or “Caves” as they are called by gang members). Each Cave has its own leadership hierarchy, and reports up to the respective leaders of their particular Cave. Gorilla
Stone, like most other Bloods street gangs, has two separate hierarchical rank structures: a “Prison Lineup” for Gorilla Stone members in the prison system and the “Street Lineup,” i.e., members of Gorilla Stone that are not incarcerated.

Dwight Reid, a/k/a “Dick Wolf”

Reid founded Gorilla Stone and still serves as the gang’s leader. Reid is currently incarcerated on a fifty-year-to-life sentence for a 2014 murder he committed by shooting a victim at point blank range in the head. Through the course of this investigation, law enforcement has
learned that Reid still maintains an iron grip over Gorilla Stone from behind bars, including the gang’s lucrative narcotics distribution operating in New York City and Upstate New York, as well as the gang’s various fraud schemes.

Reid is charged in the following counts:
Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Christopher Erskine, a/k/a “Beagle”

Erskine is the highest-ranking street leader of Gorilla Stone. Through wiretaps of Erskine’s phone, the Government has learned that Erskine’s role transcends the Cave structure described above. Erskine occupies a unique position as the gang’s street leader that Erskine and other gang members refer to as the “Sun.” Erskine has been captured on wiretaps admitting to his role in the Gorilla Stone enterprise, saying on one recording: “Until Wolf [Dwight Reid] take me off this s###, I’m supposed to have the streets.”

Erskine has repeatedly made clear, over wiretaps, that violence is what fuels Gorilla Stone—and what allows one to advance through its ranks. In a recording where Erskine and defendant Walter Luster are discussing leadership roles for other gang members, Erskine expressed
disappointment that a leadership candidate did not reach for a gun during a dispute, which proved to him (Erskine) that the individual “wasn’t sturdy.”

Similarly, Erskine was intercepted discussing defendant Stephen Hugh’s arrest on state charges for a New Rochelle shooting Erskine believed that not putting up the entirety of Hugh’s bail out of the gang’s collective fund (“kitty”) would allow Hugh to “get his name up” in prison by “slap[ping] a couple n*ggas in the face.” Thus, Erskine believed Hugh’s standing in the gang could be benefited through acts of violence in prison. This particular axiom of Gorilla Stone – that a member can increase his or her standing through acts of violence against rivals—is reflected on numerous recorded prison calls made by Gorilla Stone members that were reviewed as part of this investigation.

Erskine’s leadership role, and emphasis on violence, has meant that other, more junior members of Gorilla Stone have turned to him to authorize acts of violence. In one interception, another member of Gorilla Stone pleads with Erskine to give him authorization to commit an act of violence.

Erskine agrees that an act of violence is warranted and says “Knock him out you gotta knock him out.” Erskine’s leadership role extends to the gang’s expansive narcotics distribution business. In the course of this investigation, the Government has learned that Erskine acts as one of the
gang’s primary suppliers of cocaine and crack cocaine. In addition, over the course of the wiretap on Erskine’s phone, Erskine has been intercepted discussing drug debts and payments he is owed.

This conduct is all the more troubling considering Erskine’s age—he is 37 years’ old—and has two prior felony convictions for narcotics trafficking. Erskine faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, and qualifies as a Career Offender under the United States Sentencing Guidelines given his two prior felony narcotics convictions. Erskine is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Eleven (Possession with Intent to Distribute 28 grams and more of Crack Cocaine);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Walter Luster, a/k/a “Shells”

Luster is a leader of the Money Gang Cave of Gorilla Stone During the investigation, as described above, law enforcement obtained a wiretap of Luster’s phone. Over that wiretap, Luster was captured boasting about his violent tendencies, saying in a conversation with defendant Deshawn Thomas that he was “thirsty for someone to give me reason to clap ‘em.” He also admitted to ordering an act of violence on a recorded call. Again, speaking with Thomas, Luster talked about how it was important to maintain high standards with defendant Reid. A benefit of that, as Luster explained, was that sometimes they could get away with “a bad call.” An example of a bad call Luster gave Thomas was a prior decision Luster made to “clap his [Reid’s] man.”

Luster explained that he was able to get away with that because of the services he provides to Reid. Luster’s admissions about his “thirst[]” for violence and his ordering of previous acts of violence are punctuated by his open carrying of firearms. Below is a photo from Luster’s Instagram account, posted in July 2020, which depicts him with what appears to be an automatic firearm:

Luster’s admissions over recorded calls did not stop with just violence. Luster had detailed conversations about the pricing of narcotics. In addition, Luster was captured bragging about the scope of his narcotics trafficking, saying that he was able to afford new jewelry during the COVID19 pandemic because he was working hard “outside” and “in the streets.” Luster, like Erskine, is 37 years’ old, and also has two prior felony convictions (one for narcotics). Luster faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Luster is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Deshawn Thomas, a/k/a “Don”

Thomas is a leader of the Immortal Stone Gorilla Gang Cave in Gorilla Stone, otherwise known as the “Goons.” Thomas recently received the leadership mantle for the Goons. In a recorded prison call from October 6, 2020, he tells a Gorilla Stone inmate that he “got a promotion” and gives the inmate “72 hours” to make up his mind on whether that inmate wanted to join Thomas in the Goons.

On October 14, 2020, a .40 caliber firearm was found in Thomas’s car after a traffic stop in Queens. During that traffic stop, three cellphones were seized and the Government subsequently applied for warrants for all three cellphones. Three things became apparent from review of those cellphone extractions.

First, Thomas is a prolific narcotics trafficker. One of the seized cellphones primarily contains discussions pertaining to narcotics trafficking.

Second, Thomas—much like Erskine—appeared to promote and appreciate violence by those under him in Gorilla Stone. There were several saved videos on one of Thomas’s cellphones from other gang members depicting gang assaults, including one by defendant Soto described below. And, in fact, Soto reaches out to Thomas after a murder for assistance, as also described below.

Third, and perhaps most troublingly, Thomas is intimately involved in providing firearms to other Gorilla Stone members. As described in that Complaint, Thomas ordered several weapons from a Florida-based Gorilla Stone member and appears to collect orders from other Gorilla Stone members. Thomas faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Thomas is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Naya Austin, a/k/a “Baby”

Austin serves as the “God Mother,” or highest-ranking female member of the Gorilla Stone Reign Cave. Title III wiretaps on Austin’s cellphone in June and July 2020 revealed numerous conversations regarding her high-level participation in Gorilla Stone, and a significant amount of narcotics trafficking, which is corroborated by the more than 100 grams of crack cocaine that have been purchased directly from Austin in video- and audio-recorded buys.

In addition to being one of the most prolific drug dealers for the gang, Austin is also charged with committing a brazen gunpoint robbery of a drug dealer at a hotel in Peekskill, New York on June 12, 2020.

After the robbery, Austin was captured over the wiretap on her phone discussing the robbery and whether or not the victim of the robbery was planning a retaliatory attack. Austin and defendant Roberta Sligh were also captured on surveillance video savagely beating a victim outside a gas station in Peekskill, New York on April 9, 2020, as described further below.

Austin has also been captured, through the wiretaps on her phone, and cellphone extractions, admitting to possessing several firearms. In one interception, Austin is heard admitting that she had a “pearly white” AR-15. And in a text message reviewed from a cellphone extraction, Austin appears to be looking for a pistol with a laser sight which she could not locate (“You ever see a grip with a laser at kk house?”). Austin’s propensity for violent conduct extends beyond Gorilla Stone, as reflected in recorded calls, to include a shooting as part of a road rage incident on August 2, 2020.

Specifically, Austin admitted to shooting at an individual in front of a house party in the early morning hours of August 2, 2020 in Peekskill, New York (during the call captured over the wiretap, Austin specifically said that she fired two shots). Although the Government believes this particular shooting has no connection to Gorilla Stone, it does show that Austin is incredibly violent. Austin faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 24 years in prison. Austin is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Five (Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering)
Count Six (Possessing and Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of Count Five)
Count Ten (Possession with Intent to Distribute 28 grams and more of Crack Cocaine);
Count Eleven (Possession with Intent to Distribute 28 grams and more of Crack Cocaine);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy);
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same); and
Count Sixteen (Aggravated Identity Theft)

Brandon Nieves, a/k/a “Untouchable Dot”

Nieves is the co-Godfather of Gorilla Stone Reign (one of the Eight Caves that comprise Gorilla Stone), along with Erskine, and has been a high-ranking member of Gorilla Stone since at least 2013. Nieves was charged in a Gorilla Stone case in 2015 in Bronx County, New York. In that case, Nieves ultimately pled guilty to ordering a stabbing in prison in furtherance of Gorilla Stone, which was captured over a recorded call on a wiretap. Nieves is still on New York State Parole for this felony conviction.

During this investigation, which is particularly troubling given Nieves’s history, law enforcement reviewed a prison call on November 11, 2019 where Nieves and Erskine discuss with a Gorilla Stone inmate (“Inmate-1”) the fact that Inmate-1 is “going to shoot” (a common reference to a stabbing in prison) any Gorilla Stone members violating gang rules in prison.

Nieves has also been captured over Title III wiretaps in this case having detailed discussions with Walker about narcotics trafficking, as well as calls with Erskine and Walker about Gorilla Stone activity. Nieves faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Nieves is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Ahmed Walker, a/k/a “Ammo”

Walker is an enforcer and drug dealer for Gorilla Stone. He has been captured over wiretaps describing how he strictly enforces requirements on more junior members of Gorilla Stone, “wip[ing]” them “down”—or kicking them out—for not knowing gang rules and regulations and not letting junior members enter gang meetings if they forgot the Gorilla Stone “oath.” As described in more detail below, Walker appears to have ordered a retaliatory act of violence in New Rochelle which was undertaken by defendant Stephen Hugh, a/k/a “Chino.”

Walker has also been intercepted discussing his own acts of violence. In one intercepted conversation, Walker admitted that he “w[on] [his] way in the crowd by being a shooter.” Indeed, Walker has a prior federal gun conviction, which he was convicted of after trial in the Middle District of Pennsylvania in 2003. Walker is currently on Federal Probation after that conviction—and a conviction for narcotics conspiracy as part of the same case in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Despite being under court supervision, Walker is charged with those same crimes, in addition to being charged with being a leader in the Gorilla Stone conspiracy. Walker faces a mandatory minimum of sentence of 35 years in prison.

Walker is currently charged in the following counts:
Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy And Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Caswell Senior, a/k/a “Casanova”

Senior is a rapper of some notoriety. Using his public platform, he has amplified the message of the gang—both through his music and his social media profiles. For example, he appeared on a gang anthem this summer, “Big Ape,” which has garnered over 1.8 million views on YouTube since June 3. Defendants Luster, Thomas, and Brinae Thornton, a/k/a “Luxury,” all appear in the video and—alongside defendant Reid—are mentioned in the song’s lyrics.

In addition, he has used his Instagram page to pay homage to the gang, posting the below photos demonstrating his allegiance to Gorilla Stone.

Senior has closely coordinated his artistic endeavors to benefit the gang. For example, over recorded prison calls, the Government has learned that defendant Reid shares in some of Senior’s earnings.

Senior has also relied on Gorilla Stone members for protection. In wire intercepts, defendant Luster is recorded admitting that Senior has called upon him to provide protection and firearms (“hammers”) while Senior was traveling across the country. Senior’s pending robbery charge—the underlying conduct for which was captured on high-quality surveillance video—in New York County Supreme Court provides a concrete example of how he has relied on the gang for acts of violence.

In clear surveillance video, taken from a diner in Manhattan in August 2018, Senior is seen lunging across a table for a victim’s cellphone. A scuffle ensues and eventually a fellow Gorilla Stone member, Bobby Williams, places the victim in a chokehold until the victim lost consciousness and is dropped to the floor.

EXCLUSIVE: Woman Who Blamed Casanova For Breaking Her Jaw Drops Lawsuit

Senior has also personally committed acts of violence. In addition to his current open robbery charge, Senior has twice been convicted of Robbery in the First Degree. In public interviews, he has admitted to stabbing inmates while incarcerated on those charges. And the Government has recovered photos from his iCloud account of several firearms, demonstrating his continued access to weapons.

In addition to publicly promoting the gang and glorifying its activities, Senior is also a drug supplier for Gorilla Stone. Through direct Instagram messages and iMessages, obtained through search warrants, the Government has learned that Senior uses gang members, including both Naya Austin and Brandon Soto, a/k/a “Stacks,” to sell drugs throughout New York. Austin, as described above, and Soto, as described directly below, are two of the gang’s most violent members and prolific drug dealers.

Senior faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and—because of his prior violent felony convictions—is a Career Offender under the Guidelines. Senior is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Brandon Soto, a/k/a “Stacks”

Soto is a high-ranking member of Gorilla Stone based in Poughkeepsie. Soto is charged with participating in the September 21, 2020 murder of a 15-year-old on a busy street in Poughkeepsie. Messages recovered from Soto’s Instagram account and other cellphones show that he was instrumental in planning the murder. Soto explicitly told other members that he (Soto) “pushed the button”—a common phrase Gorilla Stone members use to describe committing or ordering an act of violence—days after the member of a rival gang stabbed somebody under Soto in the Gorilla Stone hierarchy.

Soto also drove the shooter to the location of the shooting, and two days after the murder, Soto texted defendant Thomas to delete the shooter’s Instagram Account. A vehicle Soto has used to sell narcotics was captured on surveillance video near the scene of the murder dropping off the shooter. Cellphone location data and license plate reader
information shows that Soto drove that vehicle into Brooklyn the night of the murder.

The vehicle was eventually towed to an impound lot on September 25 by the New York City Police Department. After the vehicle was towed, on September 25, Soto sent panicked messages to Thomas: “I need some assistance out here…,” followed by “Idk what else to do.” Shortly after these messages, the vehicle was stolen out of the impound lot and set on fire in a secluded part of Upper Manhattan, as depicted below:

In addition to his participation in this horrific murder, the Government has also recovered several videos of gang assaults Soto has committed. In one particularly gruesome beating, Soto is seen beating a helpless victim (who appears to be unconscious after the severe beating) while screaming “YOU’RE NOT GORILLA.” And finally, Instagram messages between Soto and defendant Austin demonstrate his access to firearms: in a message in response to Austin’s search for a firearm, Soto responds by calling himself “Mr. Duffle,” duffle being Gorilla Stone’s code word for guns. Soto faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Soto is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Two (Travel Act Murder);
Count Twelve (Possession with Intent to Distribute 28 grams and more crack cocaine);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Dezon Washington, a/k/a “Blakk”

Washington is a Peekskill-based member of Gorilla Stone. Among the conduct Washington is charged with is a gunpoint drug robbery in a Peekskill hotel room where the victim was savagely beaten. Evidence of the violent nature of the robbery was found at the crime scene:


Washington has also been intercepted over wiretaps discussing how he could help Austin acquire firearms (“duffles”). His role as a procurer of firearms has also been corroborated by screenshots he has sent Austin of websites selling firearms. Washington faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 22 years in prison, and is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Five (Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering);
Count Six (Possession and Brandishing a Firearm in Relation to Count Five);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Robert Woods, a/k/a “Blakk Rob”

Woods is a particularly violent member of Gorilla Stone and, among other acts of violence, committed a brutal slashing of a victim in January 2018 (the “Slashing”). The wound from the Slashing stretched the entire left side of the victim’s face, completely mutilating it. Woods was proud that he committed the Slashing: over his Instagram account, which the Government obtained pursuant to a search warrant, Woods sent a picture of the victim’s face after the slashing to defendant Luster. Luster responded with a flexed muscle emoji, appearing to congratulate Woods on this gruesome act of violence that Woods committed for the gang. Woods was charged with the Slashing in New York County Supreme Court, and was released on bail in that case.

Wire intercepts have also confirmed that Woods has gotten into violent encounters with other Gorilla Stone members, and even Luster has commented that Woods is difficult to control. In addition to violence, Woods also deals drugs and engages in fraud schemes for the gang, as reflected in messages from his Instagram account.

Woods currently faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for the conduct he is charged with. Woods is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Nine (Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy And Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Stephen Hugh, a/k/a “Chino”

Hugh is a member of Gorilla Stone from Westchester County. Based on extractions from his cellphone and Austin’s cellphone, Hugh was intimately involved with crack cocaine distribution across Westchester County. He has also undertaken, as charged in the Indictment, violent acts to cement his status in Gorilla Stone. On July 20, 2020, surveillance video captured muzzle flashes from a car associated with Hugh at an intersection in New Rochelle. Shell casings were recovered from the scene of the shooting after it happened.

In text messages recovered from Hugh’s phone, approximately 30 minutes after the shooting, Hugh texts another member of Gorilla Stone: “Tell Ammo [defendant Walker] it’s situated.” Hugh followed that message up with: “I would never want to bring di[s]grace to the family you heard.” In other words, Hugh appears to admit to carrying out the shooting at Walker’s behest to defend Gorilla Stone’s reputation. Hugh’s admissions did not end there. In text messages the next day (July 21) to defendant Washington, Hugh brags that he: “pushed the button last night.” And two days later, on July 22, Hugh tells another individual: “I had to bang at some n*ggas.”

Hugh committed the shooting as retaliation for being robbed in June 2020 by rival Crips gang members in New Rochelle. This robbery was discussed by fellow Gorilla Stone members and the discussion was captured on wiretaps and recorded prison calls. Hugh faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. Hugh is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Three (Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering);
Count Four (Possession and Discharge of a Firearm in Relation to Count Three);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Jordan Ingram, a/k/a “Flow”

Jordan Ingram, a/k/a “Flow,” is a Peekskill-based member of Gorilla Stone. Evidence uncovered over the course of the investigation has shown that he works closely with defendant Austin to move large quantities of crack cocaine in the Peekskill area. He is also charged with carrying out the gunpoint robbery with Austin and Washington, which is described above.

Ingram also appears to be a conduit to acquire weapons for Gorilla Stone. In an interception over Austin’s phone, Ingram (using Austin’s phone) was intercepted calling a gun store in Pennsylvania and asking “if I were coming in to purchase a weapon is there a waiting process?” Messages extracted from Austin’s phone appear to confirm that Austin and Ingram did, in fact, travel together to purchase a firearm in Pennsylvania.

Ingram faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 22 years in prison, and is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Five (Violent Crime in Aid of Rackeeteering);
Count Six (Possession and Brandishing of a Firearm in Relation to Count Five);
Count Eleven (Possession with Intent to Distribute 28 grams and more of Crack Cocaine);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Shanay Outlaw, a/k/a “Easy”

Outlaw helps manage Gorilla Stone’s finances. Erskine was intercepted over wiretaps turning to Outlaw for exact figures in the gang’s collective pot, or “kitty.” In addition, through cellphone extractions and records from the New York State Department of Labor, the Government learned that Outlaw worked with Austin to file several fraudulent unemployment
applications with the DOL.

Additional wiretaps confirmed that this fraud scheme was pervasive throughout the gang’s ranks. The gang’s financial sophistication spreads beyond that. Outlaw was involved—as were several of the defendants—in a fraudulent 501(c)(3) principally run by defendant Erskine called: Determined Adults Exceedingly Motivating Peers Into Responsible Entrepreneurs (“D.A. E.M.P.I.R.E.”).

“Empire” is a common greeting amongst Gorilla Stone members. D.A. E.M.P.I.R.E., as described over wiretaps and recorded jail calls, was designed to take advantage of non-profit grants to benefit gang members. In one particularly telling call between Erskine and defendant Reid: “Your wife, me, everybody else, we need to get paid the correct amount of bread and the only way we going to do that is through donations and grants. And then your wife, she don’t have to worry about working and none of that. You ain’t got to worry about s### like that no more.”

In other words, Erskine explicitly admits that getting grants into D.A. E.M.P.I.R.E. meant that gang members, not the broader community, would benefit. In short, Gorilla Stone has sophisticated financial operations for a street gang. Outlaw has access to, and knowledge of, the significant, collective resources of the gang. A strict bail package, including home incarceration, is warranted to ensure her appearance in court.

Isaiah Santos, a/k/a “Zay”

Santos is a Gorilla Stone member based out of Manhattan. His primary role for the gang is dealing narcotics, including significant quantities of marijuana. The organized nature of his operation is reflected in precise pricing lists he has provided to customers, which were recovered by law enforcement from his iCloud account pursuant to a warrant. In addition, and disturbingly, Santos had several pictures of firearms stored in his iCloud. Perhaps most troublingly is the picture of a firearm with a silencer attached:

Santos is also charged with using firearms in the course of drug robberies. On February 2, 2020, during a drug deal where the customer refused to pay Santos, Santos robbed the customer and brandished his gun while threatening the customer. Days after the robbery, in text messages recovered from Santos’s iCloud, Santos appears to admit to the robbery saying: “he bought that and he can’t pay me.”

Santos was originally charged with this robbery in February 2020. He was bailed in that case and since that time, based on his iCloud return, it appears that he has not stopped selling narcotics. This is borne out by the fact that he was arrested for narcotics trafficking just a short while ago on October 24, 2020. Even after this latest arrest, based on information provided to the Government from a confidential informant, Santos has continued to traffic in narcotics. Santos faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 17 years in prison. Santos is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fifteen (Possession and Brandishing of a Firearm in Relation to Count Thirteen)

Roberta Sligh, a/k/a “Trouble”

Sligh is a Peekskill-based member of Gorilla Stone and close associate of defendant Austin. Cellphone extractions and social media search warrants have made plain that Sligh is intimately involved in moving large amounts of crack cocaine in the Peekskill community with Austin, which has had a devastating impact in that small community. In addition, cellphone extractions have shown Austin and Sligh exchanging surveillance video of a brutal beating of a Victim outside a convenience store on April 9, 2020 in the early evening hours.

During that video, Austin and Sligh are seen dragging an individual out of a convenience store while viciously beating the Victim. A third individual is depicted beating the Victim with a tire iron. Sligh has also exchanged messages with guns and, in one particularly telling exchange, Austin sent Sligh a screenshot of a conversation between her (Austin) and Washington about firearms available for purchase through a website.

Sligh has undertaken the charged conduct while under the supervision of Westchester County Probation. Sligh is currently serving a five-year term of probation after being convicted of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree in January 2020 after being arrested with a handgun in Peekskill.

In the aftermath of that arrest, Sligh proudly boasted to a Peekskill detective, in a recorded, post-arrest, post-Miranda interview, that she was a member of Gorilla Stone. And it was only months later that Sligh was seemingly looking for another firearm in the conversation discussed above. Sligh faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Sligh is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Brinae Thornton, a/k/a “Luxury”

Thornton is a Godmother of the Money Gang Cave of Gorilla Stone, making her the highest ranking female member of that Cave. Over social media and music videos, Thornton has been active in promoting the gang. Thornton’s Instagram account also shows she is part and parcel of the gang’s narcotics trafficking and, in fact, has had resale quantities of crack cocaine seized from her in July 2019.

Thornton also lives the gang’s violent ethos. On August 8, 2018, Thornton was captured on surveillance video handing off a gun to a fellow gang member. That gang member, in turn, fires several rounds in the middle of a crowded Brooklyn street in the early evening hours. Thornton was later arrested in possession of the gun that was used during the August 8 shooting, which was confirmed through a ballistics match.

Thornton faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. Thornton is charged in the following counts:

Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
Count Seven (Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering);
Count Eight (Possession and Discharge of a Firearm in Relation to Count Seven);
Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same)

Jamal Trent, a/k/a “Trap Smoke”

Trent is a supplier of crack cocaine to Westchester-based members of Gorilla Stone. Specifically, defendants Austin and Hugh have turned to Trent several times to acquire crack cocaine (“arod”). Trent appears to be important to their supply of crack cocaine, and Austin and Hugh, over text messages, have had detailed discussions about the quality of Trent’s supply.

Trent and Austin have also discussed other narcotics they could traffic together. In messages recovered from cellphone extractions, Trent and Austin discussed in detail a synthetic drug they could make, using either a combination of ketamine or morphine and K2. Trent also appears to have messaged Austin photographs of weapons he wished to acquire.

In May of this year, Trent messaged Austin a photograph and a link to a firearm from www.grabagun.com. Trent’s apparent desire to acquire a firearm is particularly concerning. Trent has two prior convictions for illegal firearms possession. He is also currently on New York State parole for one of those firearms possession charges. In other words, Trent is trafficking in large amounts of narcotics and seeking to acquire weapons while on parole for having illegally possessed a firearm.

Trent faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, on powerful proof, and is charged in Count Thirteen of the Indictment.



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