Seventeen alleged Jamaica-based gang members charged in months-long robbery and racketeering pattern

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Seventeen Queens residents were charged for their alleged roles in a violent, months-long robbery pattern in Queens and Long Island, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

The 17 individuals, who are alleged members of the Makk Balla Brims set of the Bloods street gang, were arrested on July 16. An addendum of the names of the 17 individuals is available here. The defendants face numerous charges including racketeering, robbery, Hobbs Act robbery and firearms charges.

If convicted, each defendant faces seven years to life in prison.

“As alleged, members and their associates of the Makk Balla Brims set of the Bloods committed numerous, violent armed robberies, victimizing families in their homes and employees and patrons of local businesses, including a barber shop,” stated United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue. “We are working tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to ensure that our community is protected from the threat posed by violent street gangs such as this one.”

The Makk Balla Brims is comprised primarily of members residing in and around the South Jamaica Houses and the American Towers in Queens. According to the indictment, between May and December 2017, the 17 defendants allegedly participated in 11 robberies or attempted robberies, brandishing or using guns during most of the crimes. The crew allegedly targeted people that they thought would be in possession of large amounts of cash, electronics, jewelry or narcotics, and after receiving a tip about a potential victim, the gang would allegedly assemble a crew to carry out the robbery.

Several of the charges were outlined in the indictment. On Sept. 23, 2017, defendants Michael Miles, 35, Shamel Simpkins, 32, Reshawn Smith, 22, Kimberly Thompson, 23, and other co-conspirators allegedly robbed the Jevo Barber Shop in Jamaica. Simpkins allegedly chose the crew members and Miles was armed with a TEC-9 semiautomatic pistol while Thompson drove the getaway car.  Miles and Smith allegedly entered the barber shop and removed gold chains, cell phones and cash from the victims, as well as cash proceeds from the business.

On Sept. 29, 2017, defendants Andre Barnaby, 27, Brandon Darby, 28, and Pierre Raymond, 21, allegedly broke into a home in Elmont, New York, that they allegedly believed had a stash of marijuana while Simpkins and Shawn Silvera, 26, stayed in the getaway car. While wearing masks, Darby and Raymond allegedly went in with guns and tied up the victim with an extension cord and demanded the marijuana and cash. When the victim stated that he did not have marijuana, Raymond and Darby heated up a knife and repeatedly burned the victim’s legs.

Continuing, on Oct. 11, 2017, James Roberson, 24, Simpkins, Thompson and other co-conspirators allegedly robbed a house in North Valley Stream, New York, where they believed a jewelry store owner kept jewelry and cash.  After forcing their way into the house with guns, Roberson and the co-conspirators allegedly restrained the victim’s family with zip ties and Roberson allegedly shot the victim in the stomach before fleeing with jewelry and electronics. The victim received medical treatment and survived.

Charges say that in at least two robberies, the crew allegedly targeted homes where Indian flags were flying because they believed the residents kept gold and cash inside. Defendant Avery Mitchell, 24, allegedly posed as a deliveryman wearing a United Parcel Service jacket to enter a house. Once inside, Avery and other co-conspirators allegedly restrained two young girls at gunpoint and took off with electronics and jewelry. On Nov. 19, 2017, defendants Davis, Nahjuan Perry, 24, Mitchell and other co-conspirators allegedly robbed a second house where Indian flags were flying outside, with Mitchell again donning a UPS jacket as a ruse to gain entry. Once inside, Mitchell allegedly shot one resident before fleeing empty-handed.

“Targeting and dismantling criminal groups, and preventing violence that is often associated with their illegal activities, continues to be among the highest priorities for the NYPD and our law enforcement partners,” stated NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “I commend and thank the attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York for bringing this case forward, and the NYPD investigators for their hard work to keep our communities safe and further reduce crime and disorder.”

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