News


13 is a Lucky Number for Law Enforcement in the Arrest of Gang Members

10/28/2008
 
The list of crimes is long and varied. The string of crimes stretches from 2004 through 2008 with everything from drug dealing to home invasions. In one instance, a man lost his life.

Through a nine-month investigation by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Jacksonville Office of the Statewide Prosecutor has issued warrants for a group of 13 Palm Coast residents, alleged 'Blood' gang associates, on RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations). RICO is used to effectively dismantle the entire "criminal organization" by prosecuting the criminal entity as one, as opposed to just prosecuting individual crimes by each gang member. Most crimes that are committed for the gang or to benefit the gang can be utilized in the prosecution. The use of RICO helps to eliminate the entire gang at once, by eliminating the main participants in the organization.

FCSO opened an investigation and began documenting the criminal activities and intelligence of alleged gang members in January 2004. Suspects of this investigation became the prime focus of the investigation into organized criminal street gang that the FCSO identified as the members of the 'Bloods'. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement joined the investigation in early 2008. Known as the 'United Blood Nation' (UBN), commonly referred to as the 'East Coast Bloods', the UBN is divided into separate "sets" at local levels which are represented geographically in cities, communities and neighborhoods. This particular set of the UNB, conducting criminal activities within Palm Coast, is known as the '9-Tek Grenades' or the 'Brick Mafia'.

'9-Tek Grenades' members are alleged to have been involved in armed robberies, home invasions, burglaries, possession of firearms by convicted felons, possession of stolen property and illegal drug sales. These alleged activities are also believed to be the primary source of income for the organization.

The names of those being charged will be familiar to Flagler County residents and so will their crimes.

Brandon Washington, 21, is being identified as the alleged leader of this gang known as 'The 9-Tek Grenades'. Washington was found guilty Friday in a Flagler County Circuit Court jury trial of robbery and false imprisonment. This case involved the March 14, 2008, kidnapping of a Palm Coast man. The 21-year-old victim told deputies he had gone to a home on Pony Lane in Palm Coast to collect a debt and was met by Washington, who was armed with a handgun. Washington demanded the victim's car, keys and cash before ordering him into another vehicle. The victim was driven to a home on Pope Lane where he was ordered to get cash. Once inside the victim called to report the kidnapping and robbery.

Washington's alleged organized criminal activity includes planning and executing a 2006 home invasion on Birchwood Lane in Palm Coast. Authorities believe he may be the lead planner in the theft of stolen cars and drug deals in Palm Coast. He is charged with planning the December 2007 home invasion robbery of a drug dealer on Pheasant Lane in Palm Coast. The robbery failed when gang members burst through the door, firing their guns and the drug dealer returned fire. Rashawn Pugh was shot and died on the doorstep of the home.

The charging documents also state that in March 2008, Washington and his associates planned and executed the robbery of Sub Base in Palm Coast. Four females were arrested minutes later. In June, 2008, the gang members are additionally charged with executing yet another home invasion on Burrell Place in Palm Coast. In that incident, the resident was robbed at knifepoint. In August of the same year, Washington's associates are suspected of committing a drive by shooting on Prosperity Lane while four people were standing outside. One victim was slightly injured when a bullet grazed his leg.

The majority of the alleged gang members were juveniles when they began their criminal careers some four years ago. The oldest member is 26. The youngest is 19. To become a member of the '9-Tek Grenades', an individual must pass initiation rites. The gang members wear chosen colors and their rules and codes are maintained in a document called the 'Blood Bible'.

"We have a clear pattern of organized crime here. This group of individuals planned their crimes and profited from these acts," said Flagler County Sheriff Donald W. Fleming. "Our investigators have been working to gain intelligence on this group in order to link these crimes. We were tracking their criminal activity, building associations and when we had collected sufficient information, we called on FDLE to assist us. The goal was not to charge each of these suspects individually, but rather as a group. We have done that."

"The 'Bloods' are a violent criminal gang with the potential to terrorize any community," said FDLE Special Agent in Charge Dominick Pape. "Unfortunately, individuals living in Flagler County chose to align with this criminal element and establish the '9-Tek Grenades'. It is a tribute to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office that they were able to identify the individuals committing increasingly violent activities within their communities that constituted this gang. FDLE is proud to have joined with FCSO to remove these dangerous criminals from our community," said Pape.

All of the following defendants are being held on $2 million bonds except for DeCosta and Hantzos who are being held on $1 million dollar bonds.

Tommy Banks, 22, 18 Fairhill Lane.
Roberto Bravo, 26, 33 B Pinehaven Drive.
Alex DeCosta, 20, 29 Westbury Lane.
Bianca Dorismond, 19, 85 Royal Oak Drive.
Michael D. Gilbert, 22, 12 Lindberg Place.
Paraskevas Hantzos, 22, 125 Whipporwill Drive.
Christopher Kee, 20, 69 Brooklyn Lane.
Terrance Leeks, 20, 7A Wheeler Place.
Ancil Oliver, 20, 6A Pony Lane.
Joel Ortiz, 25, 20 Point of Woods.
Gerrell Smith, 21, 29 Selborne Path.
Brandon Washington, 21, 310 Summer Breeze Way, #2107, St. Augustine.
Andre McCarthy, 24, 3 Watson Place, is still being sought.

For more information, contact:

Debra Johnson
Public Information Officer
Flagler County Sheriff's Office
386-586-4814

Sharon Gogerty
PIO FDLE Jacksonville/Orlando
Desk 904-360-7101
Cell 904-237-1498
Fax 904-360-7111
The list of crimes is long and varied. The string of crimes stretches from 2004 through 2008 with everything from drug dealing to home invasions. In one instance, a man lost his life.

Through a nine-month investigation by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Jacksonville Office of the Statewide Prosecutor has issued warrants for a group of 13 Palm Coast residents, alleged 'Blood' gang associates, on RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations). RICO is used to effectively dismantle the entire "criminal organization" by prosecuting the criminal entity as one, as opposed to just prosecuting individual crimes by each gang member. Most crimes that are committed for the gang or to benefit the gang can be utilized in the prosecution. The use of RICO helps to eliminate the entire gang at once, by eliminating the main participants in the organization.

FCSO opened an investigation and began documenting the criminal activities and intelligence of alleged gang members in January 2004. Suspects of this investigation became the prime focus of the investigation into organized criminal street gang that the FCSO identified as the members of the 'Bloods'. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement joined the investigation in early 2008. Known as the 'United Blood Nation' (UBN), commonly referred to as the 'East Coast Bloods', the UBN is divided into separate "sets" at local levels which are represented geographically in cities, communities and neighborhoods. This particular set of the UNB, conducting criminal activities within Palm Coast, is known as the '9-Tek Grenades' or the 'Brick Mafia'.

'9-Tek Grenades' members are alleged to have been involved in armed robberies, home invasions, burglaries, possession of firearms by convicted felons, possession of stolen property and illegal drug sales. These alleged activities are also believed to be the primary source of income for the organization.

The names of those being charged will be familiar to Flagler County residents and so will their crimes.

Brandon Washington, 21, is being identified as the alleged leader of this gang known as 'The 9-Tek Grenades'. Washington was found guilty Friday in a Flagler County Circuit Court jury trial of robbery and false imprisonment. This case involved the March 14, 2008, kidnapping of a Palm Coast man. The 21-year-old victim told deputies he had gone to a home on Pony Lane in Palm Coast to collect a debt and was met by Washington, who was armed with a handgun. Washington demanded the victim's car, keys and cash before ordering him into another vehicle. The victim was driven to a home on Pope Lane where he was ordered to get cash. Once inside the victim called to report the kidnapping and robbery.

Washington's alleged organized criminal activity includes planning and executing a 2006 home invasion on Birchwood Lane in Palm Coast. Authorities believe he may be the lead planner in the theft of stolen cars and drug deals in Palm Coast. He is charged with planning the December 2007 home invasion robbery of a drug dealer on Pheasant Lane in Palm Coast. The robbery failed when gang members burst through the door, firing their guns and the drug dealer returned fire. Rashawn Pugh was shot and died on the doorstep of the home.

The charging documents also state that in March 2008, Washington and his associates planned and executed the robbery of Sub Base in Palm Coast. Four females were arrested minutes later. In June, 2008, the gang members are additionally charged with executing yet another home invasion on Burrell Place in Palm Coast. In that incident, the resident was robbed at knifepoint. In August of the same year, Washington's associates are suspected of committing a drive by shooting on Prosperity Lane while four people were standing outside. One victim was slightly injured when a bullet grazed his leg.

The majority of the alleged gang members were juveniles when they began their criminal careers some four years ago. The oldest member is 26. The youngest is 19. To become a member of the '9-Tek Grenades', an individual must pass initiation rites. The gang members wear chosen colors and their rules and codes are maintained in a document called the 'Blood Bible'.

"We have a clear pattern of organized crime here. This group of individuals planned their crimes and profited from these acts," said Flagler County Sheriff Donald W. Fleming. "Our investigators have been working to gain intelligence on this group in order to link these crimes. We were tracking their criminal activity, building associations and when we had collected sufficient information, we called on FDLE to assist us. The goal was not to charge each of these suspects individually, but rather as a group. We have done that."

"The 'Bloods' are a violent criminal gang with the potential to terrorize any community," said FDLE Special Agent in Charge Dominick Pape. "Unfortunately, individuals living in Flagler County chose to align with this criminal element and establish the '9-Tek Grenades'. It is a tribute to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office that they were able to identify the individuals committing increasingly violent activities within their communities that constituted this gang. FDLE is proud to have joined with FCSO to remove these dangerous criminals from our community," said Pape.

All of the following defendants are being held on $2 million bonds except for DeCosta and Hantzos who are being held on $1 million dollar bonds.

Tommy Banks, 22, 18 Fairhill Lane.
Roberto Bravo, 26, 33 B Pinehaven Drive.
Alex DeCosta, 20, 29 Westbury Lane.
Bianca Dorismond, 19, 85 Royal Oak Drive.
Michael D. Gilbert, 22, 12 Lindberg Place.
Paraskevas Hantzos, 22, 125 Whipporwill Drive.
Christopher Kee, 20, 69 Brooklyn Lane.
Terrance Leeks, 20, 7A Wheeler Place.
Ancil Oliver, 20, 6A Pony Lane.
Joel Ortiz, 25, 20 Point of Woods.
Gerrell Smith, 21, 29 Selborne Path.
Brandon Washington, 21, 310 Summer Breeze Way, #2107, St. Augustine.
Andre McCarthy, 24, 3 Watson Place, is still being sought.

For more information, contact:

Debra Johnson
Public Information Officer
Flagler County Sheriff's Office
(386) 586-4814

Sharon Gogerty
PIO FDLE Jacksonville/Orlando
Desk (904) 360-7101
Cell (904) 237-1498
Fax (904) 360-7111