Nine members of the `Bushwick Crew’ charged with murders and racketeering

September 6, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Evidence from a March 28, 2018 detention letter (pictured are Peter Vasquez, third from left wearing red shorts and a black shirt, and Luis Lopez, third from right, wearing White Sox hat). Photos courtesy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York
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Nine members of a gang in North Brooklyn, allegedly known as the “Bushwick Crew,” were arraigned in federal court in Downtown Brooklyn yesterday with a 19-count indictment that charged eight of the members with racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion conspiracy and heroin distribution conspiracy.

The ninth defendant was charged with murder in aid of racketeering.

Four of the defendants were previously charged. Five additional defendants were charged on yesterday.

Maurice Brown, Jaquan Cooper and Tyquan Griem were arrested on Wednesday and appeared before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo yesterday. Norman Marrero was previously arraigned in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Lance Goodwin was arrested yesterday and was expected to be arraigned late yesterday in North Carolina.

Luis Lopez, Jason Pantojas, Miguel Pantojas and Peter Vasquez were all previously charged and are facing new charges.

“As alleged, the defendants were part of a violent crew that beat, tortured and killed in furtherance of their heroin trafficking,” stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard P. Donoghue. “These charges demonstrate the commitment by this office and our law enforcement partners to rid our community of the extreme violence associated with drug dealing.”

The indictment alleged that the Bushwick Crew was involved in heroin trafficking in Brooklyn with connections to Mexican drug cartels. Members are known to be armed and have forcibly collected debts and committed acts of violence against anyone who interfered with the crew’s operations.

On Aug. 18, 2012, prosecutors alleged that defendant Lance Goodwin and other members of the crew were involved in a street altercation that ended when Goodwin fatally shot Donte Williams in the stomach. Goodwin was arrested a week following the murder while carrying the murder weapon.

On March 5, 2013, two people who attempted to rob one of the crew’s heroin distributors were shot and wounded during the botched robbery. Defendants Maurice Brown, Peter Vasquez, Luis Lopez, Jason Pantojas and his brother Miguel Pantojas were called and allegedly tortured and beat the would-be robbers. One was allegedly shot to death by Maurice Brown and another was stabbed to death by Jason Pantojas. Their bodies were brought to Queens, soaked with gasoline and lit on fire, according to prosecutors.

On Sept. 20, 2014, Tyquan Griem was involved in a fight in a Queens nightclub. After the fight, he retrieved a handgun stashed in an acquaintances’ car and opened fire, killing one person.

If convicted at trial of the murder charges, Brown, Goodwin, Griem, Lopez, Jason and Miguel Pantojas and Vasquez all face mandatory life sentences. Cooper and Marrero face mandatory minimum sentences of 17-20 years to life in prison for drug and gun-related charges.


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