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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
November 29, 2011

LEADERS OF VIOLENT YOUTH DRUG CREW SENTENCED TO SIGNIFICANT STATE PRISON TIME

All 14 Defendants Convicted on Charges Relating to Crack Cocaine Sales and Weapons Possession Top Defendants Enlisted Young Teens to Join Gang Based on 137th Street in Central Harlem

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencings of the top five members of a violent criminal street gang centered around West 137th Street in Central Harlem. Leader JAQUAN LAYNE, 21, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison; his brother, JAHLYL LAYNE, 18, who oversaw sales of crack cocaine, was sentenced to 7 ½ to 23 ½ years in prison; JONATHAN HERNANDEZ, 19, convicted of a gang-related shooting, was sentenced to 15 years and 2 months to 17 years and 4 months in prison; HABIYB MOHAMMED, 31, who packaged the crack cocaine, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison; and JEFFREY BROWN, 20, who sold the crack cocaine, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

“The defendants derailed their lives and the lives of the teens they recruited to join their criminal operation, but the damage they inflicted upon these young people and their surrounding community does not have to be permanent,” said District Attorney Vance. “The sentences imposed were fair and thoughtful. For some of the 14 defendants in this case, the sentences are not merely punitive – they also make use of alternatives to incarceration and set achievable benchmarks for particular defendants, such as graduating from high school and staying off drugs and out of trouble.

“Since I took Office in January 2010, 34 people have been shot to death in Harlem. These are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, whose families were not able to spend Thanksgiving with them. In the past week alone in Harlem, three more people were wounded in shootings, with the youngest victim being only 14 years old. Young people need opportunities, options, and role models, not guns, gangs, and violence on their streets.”

On October 20, 2011, a jury in State Supreme Court convicted the defendants – members of crews known as “2 Mafia Family” (2MF or 2DEEP) and “Goons on Deck” (G.O.D) – on charges related to the running of a profitable crack cocaine operation between June 2008 and February 2011. In addition to the possession and sale of crack cocaine, the defendants conspired to possess semiautomatic handguns, revolvers and ammunition in order to maintain their dominance of the geographic area centered on West 137th Street between Lenox and Seventh Avenues, and to discourage incursions by rival street gangs. With this verdict, all 14 defendants who were indicted on related charges have been convicted.

As proven at trial, the 137th Street Crew members and their associates used violence, including shootings, beatings and robberies, to protect their narcotics trafficking business, to enhance their own status within the gang, and enhance the gang’s street credibility with rival street gangs. The defendants possessed 9-millimeter semiautomatic handguns with high-capacity magazines, .380-caliber semiautomatic handguns, .25-caliber semiautomatic handguns, and .32- and .38-caliber revolvers.

As proven at trial, the defendants continually communicated with one another throughout the period charged in the indictment, even while several – including JAQUAN and JAHLYL LAYNE, and JONATHAN HERNANDEZ – were incarcerated. They recruited adolescents under 16 years old to hold and transport firearms and engage in gang activity, including shootings, gang assaults, and robberies; teens were also used to transport and sell crack cocaine.  The defendants also recruited female associates to transport loaded firearms, so as to reduce the likelihood of the firearms being detected by law enforcement. Some proceeds from the crack cocaine sales were used to support incarcerated gang members through payments to their commissary accounts.

District Attorney Vance thanked Assistant District Attorneys Christopher Ryan, Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit, and Christopher Prevost of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit for prosecuting the case, under the supervision of Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, Chief of the Trial Division, and John Irwin, Deputy Chief of the Trial Division. DANY Deputy Chief Investigator Richard Bellucci, Supervisory Rackets Investigator Mark Stewart, Senior Rackets Investigator Reginald Barometre, and VCE Investigative Analysts Ellen Sise, Jonathan Taber, and Charles Bennett also assisted in the case.

District Attorney Vance also thanked New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and the NYPD, particularly members of Manhattan North Narcotics, for their assistance with this case.


Defendant Information:

JAQUAN LAYNE, a/k/a “Jay Cash,” a/k/a “Jay,” D.O.B. 8/7/1990
New York, NY

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy in the First Degree, a class A-I felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentence:
 

  • 20 years to life in state prison

JONATHAN HERNANDEZ, D.O.B. 1/18/1992
New York, NY

Convicted:

  • Attempted Assault in the First Degree, a class C violent felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, class C felony, 2 counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentence:
 

  • 15 years and 2 months to 17 years and 4 months in state prison

JEFFREY BROWN, D.O.B. 9/22/1991
New York, NY

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy in the First Degree, a class A-I felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentence:
 

  • 15 years to life in state prison

JAHLYL LAYNE, a/k/a “Lyl,” D.O.B. 1/18/1993
New York, NY

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentence:
 

  • 7 ½ to 23 ½ years in state prison

HABIYB MOHAMMED, D.O.B. 11/21/1979
New York, NY

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy in the First Degree, a class A-I felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count

Sentence:
 

  • 15 years to life in state prison

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