Bronx DA Darcel Clark, Manhattan DA Cy Vance Jr. and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea Announce Charges Against Gang Members for 2 Innocent Bystander Shootings, Stealing from 10 Rideshare Drivers, $300k Theft of Pandemic Relief Funds and Possessing 12 Guns


August 3, 2021

Defendants Charged in Bronx Car Dealership Shootout that Wounded Man Shielding His Children, and in Shooting that Wounded Woman Walking on Street

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. and New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea today announced that alleged members of the “20-30” crew, AKA “30 Block,” have been charged in Manhattan and the Bronx for financial crimes and violence. Eight defendants are indicted in the Bronx on 155 counts, including Conspiracy to Commit Murder. In Manhattan, five of those defendants are charged in a complaint with sophisticated thievery that targeted Uber and Lyft drivers as well as state unemployment funds, netting them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

District Attorney Clark said, “These alleged gang members are charged with the two gang activities that plague our communities—financial crimes and wanton gun violence. Manhattan DA Vance’s Office and the NYPD began investigating them for stealing from rideshare drivers and other thefts and executed search warrants in their Bronx homes that recovered seven firearms. My Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau then conducted an investigation and tied the gang to the shootout in a car dealership where a father was wounded while protecting his kids, and to a  shooting on the street targeting rival gang members that instead wounded a 52-year-old woman for life. Our investigation also recovered five guns and two large capacity magazines. With our law enforcement partners, I will not let people destroy the Bronx bullet by bullet.”

District Attorney Vance said, “We’ve made it our mission to modernize and reposition the Manhattan D.A.’s Office to confront contemporary threats to New Yorkers, and this case shows how the investments we’ve made to become a global leader in cyber are having a real-world impact on the safety of our communities. As alleged, members of 30 Block did not limit their pandemic crimes to stealing from essential workers or plundering unemployment funds meant to be a lifeline for the most vulnerable – they also helped drive a surge of gun violence in what would become a very bloody summer. Thanks to the expertise of my Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, we were able to unravel these massive schemes, and help unmask the perpetrators of multiple shootings. This case drives home the need for collaboration across boroughs, and I thank the Bronx D.A.’s Office, the NYPD, and all of our law enforcement partners for their work on this investigation.”

NYPD Commissioner Shea said, “These alleged gang members are charged with using elaborate financial crimes to fuel a violent lifestyle that harmed innocent New Yorkers and tore at the fabric of life in two boroughs. But our investigators and prosecutors, worked together to stop them, once again highlighting our intelligence-driven approach to building strong cases, getting illegal guns off our streets and keeping New Yorkers safe.”

Rick J. Patel, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, New York, said, “Today’s criminal charges are a real victory against gang violence. Gangs threaten the safety of our communities and our way of life. Dangerous gangs like the 20-30 crew contribute to the decay of our neighborhoods by bringing drugs, illicit activities, and other violent crimes to our streets. The magnitude of this operation will have a huge ripple effect on this criminal enterprise and public safety.”

Blanca Alvarez, Acting Assistant Inspector in Charge, US Postal Inspection Service, said, “These individuals orchestrated a scheme to steal money from their victims to enrich themselves and their gang members. In doing so, their identities were exposed when they used Postal Money Orders. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will not tolerate the use of postal products or services for criminal activity. Postal Inspectors and their law enforcement partners will spare no resource to remove these criminals off the streets of New York, keeping communities safe from illegal activity and our trusted brand out of the hands of criminals.” 

District Attorney Clark said seven of the defendants were arraigned on July 28, 2021 and July 30, 2021 in Bronx Supreme Court on an indictment charging second-degree Conspiracy (Conspiracy to Commit Murder), Attempted Murder in the second degree, first-degree Assault,  second-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, third-degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and other charges. They were remanded.

District Attorney Vance said the four defendants in the Manhattan case  would be arraigned today in Manhattan Criminal Court on second-degree Grand Larceny, first-degree Identity Theft, and fifth-degree Conspiracy among other charges, for their roles in the scheme to steal from rideshare drivers, and the theft of unemployment benefits.

The Manhattan DA’s Office’s investigation began in May 2020, when the Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau was examining complaints made to the NYPD during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. Beginning with a single $750 theft from a Lyft driver, the Manhattan DA’s Office uncovered an extensive high-tech scheme targeting rideshare drivers. In total, between January and April 2020, defendants Daijon Crawford AKA “Dayday,” Aaron Heredia AKA “Whitey,” Zykeith Fearon, AKA “Kaykay,” and Kelechi Ogidi AKA “Dresser Mouth,” allegedly stole approximately $6,500 from drivers working for companies like Lyft and Uber. As alleged, the defendants booked rides – targeting more than 50 drivers – with a destination address that was nearly identical to the pick-up address. When the driver noticed the problem, the defendants would ask the driver to call a friend to get the correct address, and then borrow the driver’s phone for the conversation. While another passenger distracted the driver, the defendants quickly transferred the drivers’ in-app earnings to their own personal bank accounts using debit cards and mobile banking apps like Cash App.

During the investigation of these rideshare thefts, investigators observed several of the defendants posting photos of cash and postal money orders on their social media accounts. With assistance from the United States Postal Service, the Manhattan DA’s Office determined that these postal money orders were purchased with debit cards loaded with fraudulently obtained pandemic-related unemployment benefits. Between May and September 2020, the four defendants and Akeyle Baker AKA “Akey Goon,” used stolen identities to successfully receive more than $300,000 of pandemic-related unemployment funds from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Additionally, three defendants received more than $50,000 in unemployment benefits directly from New York State.

In October 2020, the Manhattan DA’s Office, the NYPD, and other law enforcement partners executed search warrants on the defendants’ homes in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, Yonkers, and Mount Vernon. Investigators recovered more than $100,000 in cash and money orders, more than 150 credit and debit cards, and a laptop open to an out-of-state online unemployment application, as well as loaded firearms.

Akeyle Baker allegedly possessed two 9-mm pistols and a .45-caliber pistol and two high capacity magazines. Daijon Crawford allegedly possessed two loaded 9 mm pistols, several rounds of ammunition and a quantity of fentanyl and Tramadol. Aaron Heredia allegedly possessed a loaded 9mm pistol, two large capacity ammunition feeding devices, several rounds of ammunition and a quantity of cocaine. Zykeith Fearon allegedly possessed a loaded .40 caliber pistol and two large capacity ammunition feeding devices.

Based on the evidence obtained in the Manhattan DA’s search warrants, the Bronx DA’s Office and the Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau launched its own investigation into the violent crimes committed by members of the 20-30 gang.

According to the indictment in the Bronx, on or about August 9, 2020, defendant Baker sent a message on an instant messaging app stating that the chat participants need an address of a member of the rival Mac Baller gang in order to go and shoot him. On or about August 10, 2020, defendant Zykeith Fearon sent a message reminding the chat participants to have a firearm readily available: “friendly reminder to carry artillery everywhere…”

According to the investigation, on September 21, 2020, defendants Baker, Heredia, Crawford, Fearon, and others exchanged dozens of messages on an instant messaging app in which they agreed and planned to shoot the rival gang member. Later that day, 20-30 crew members went to a car dealership at 4077 Boston road, where their intended target was looking at luxury vehicles.

Defendants Baker, Fearon and Crawford allegedly fired multiple shots at their target, and he returned fire. A 39-year-old Bronx man who was there to buy a car with his three children was caught in the shootout and was struck three times as he shielded his children with his body. A bullet remains in his thigh.          

According to the investigation, in the afternoon of September 30, 2020, on East 224th Street, Delroy Salmon AKA “Dboy,” acting with others, allegedly shot at an unidentified rival gang member, but struck an innocent bystander, a 52-year-old woman who suffered a life-altering injury. Salmon later sent a text saying, “just had a shoot out.”

Defendant Tahari Pritchard AKA “Binny,” was charged with possessing a loaded pistol in January 2021 and was charged with Dorien Alexander AKA “Gz” in March 2021 for possessing four loaded firearms.

The Bronx case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Edward Christian Uy of the Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau, under the supervision of Jonathan Abramovitz, Supervisor in the Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau, Denise Kodjo, Deputy Chief of Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau, and Julie Trivedi, Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau, and under the overall supervision of Tarek Rahman, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division and Wanda Perez-Maldonado, Chief of the Investigations Division. District Attorney Clark thanked Vladimir Kocheulov, Chief of the Crime Strategies Bureau; Assistant District Attorney Najah Zeidan and BXDA Detective Investigator Gregory Maloney for their assistance.

District Attorney Clark thanked Detective Peter Sganga, Sergeant Robert Turbiak, Captain Brian Eng and Inspector Patrick Cortwright of the NYPD Financial Crimes Task Force in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for their work on the investigation. District Attorney Clark thanked the 47th Precinct Detective Squad, specifically Detective Edwin Vega, Detective Kevin Mockel and Detective Carl Beal, for their work in the investigation. District Attorney Clark thanked Homeland Security Investigations New York Office for their assistance.

The Manhattan DA’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Daniel Haier under the supervision of Robert Shull, Deputy Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, Elizabeth Roper, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, Gloria Garcia, Deputy Chief of the Investigation Division  and Executive Assistant District Attorney Christopher Conroy, Chief of the Investigation Division. Detective Peter Sganga of the Manhattan DA and NYPD’s Cyber and Financial Crimes Task Force assisted with the investigation, as did Cybercrime Analysts Charles Fraker and Jacob Goldfischer, Supervising Investigator Gregory Dunlavey, Investigator George Bishai, and members of the Office’s High Technology Analysis Unit.

District Attorney Vance thanked the United States Postal Inspection Service, particularly Postal Inspector Jaclyn Hart.

 

Defendants:

Akeyle Baker, 22

Daijon Crawford, 21

Zykeith Fearon, 21

Aaron Heredia, 21

Tahari Pritchard, 20

Kelechi Ogidi, 21

Delroy Salmon, 21

Dorien Alexander, 20

 

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.