Six Riverhead residents charged in Bloods gang probe

Six Riverhead residents have been charged with a variety of felonies ranging from attempted murder to conspiracy and robbery, as part of a sweeping, two-year probe into a local faction of the nationwide Bloods street gang.

In all, 31 alleged members of a gang known as the “Bloodhound Brims” were charged in a 103-count indictment for 34 separate incidents, including 18 shootings, three armed robberies and three long-term conspiracies — including conspiracy commit murder. A dozen loaded handguns allegedly used in 13 shootings and armed robberies were also recovered, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney, whose office led a multi-agency task force that included the Riverhead Police Department.

The Riverhead residents charged range in age from 18 to 23. Javon Holliday, 21, Acorey Hobbs, 18, and Octavious Rose, 22, each face a top count of second-degree felony conspiracy; Jaheim Woodson, 22, and Jayvonte Nash, 23, are each charged with attempted murder, and Tanaya Love, 21, is charged with first degree robbery.

An attorney for Mr. Woodson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The public defenders representing Mr. Rose and Mr. Holliday declined comment. There was no attorney listed in court records for Ms. Love.

Mr. Hobbs’ attorney, Christopher Cassar, said authorities went to Massachusetts to apprehend him.

“My client has never been in trouble before,” Mr. Cassar said in an interview. “He’s in college in Massachusetts on a football scholarship. They went up to arrest him right out of school. He doesn’t know what this is about. He is not a gang member. He comes from a very good family. His parents and grandparents are very involved, and he should be getting bailed out today.”

Mr. Cassar went on to describe the indictment as an “overly aggressive prosecution” and said he “looks forward to proving [Mr. Hobbs] is not guilty of these charges.”  

Investigators said the gang had a well-defined hierarchy and enforced a strict code of street rules that was “formalized in writing … upon admission to the gang.

“The BHB paperwork detailed the requirement of BHB membership, consequences of disobedience and roles for specific ranks within the hierarchy,” prosecutors allege in the indictment. “BHB members pledged loyalty and adherence to the gang, specifically pledging ‘death to all those who go against this set.’ In their ‘commandments,’ BHB members were ordered to not cooperate with law enforcement, contribute money to … high-ranking BHB members, and commit violent acts, specifically shootings against any individual or gang that disrespects BHB.”

Gang members who committed violent acts could “prove their loyalty and worth to BHB” and be “promoted” up the chain of command as a reward, according to the indictment. Authorities said that the gang operates throughout Suffolk County, but “primarily centered in … the communities of Bay Shore, Coram, Mastic and Riverhead.

“Members … sought to establish geographical dominance by committing shootings and violence aimed at rival gang members and innocent civilians alike,” according to the indictment.

Among the innocent civilians was Kimberly Midgette, a Bronx elementary school teacher who was fatally shot in her car in what officials said appears to have been a case of mistaken identity.

The indictment charges that the day before Ms. Midgette’s killing, the Nassau County head of BHB met with the Suffolk County head of the gang, and asked him to send gunmen to Hempstead “in order to commit a shooting.” The head of the Suffolk County gang then reached out to Mr. Rose, according to the indictment, who contacted fellow defendants, who “opened fire” on Ms. Midgette’s van, killing her, wounding her friend. Her 10-year-old child in the backseat was unharmed.

Two weeks later, according to prosecutors, Mr. Rose, Mr. Holliday, Mr. Hobbs and another individual “traveled to a street in Brentwood where they believed a rival gang member lived [and] fired three guns at two residences.” No one in either home was injured.

On two instances last year, Mr. Nash is accused of luring marijuana dealers to a location to make a deal, only to have lower-level gang members rob the dealer of the drugs.

At the press conference announcing the charges this week, Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller, whose department is part of the task force, thanked Mr. Tierney’s office “for its tireless efforts to keep our residents safe by ridding our communities of gangs and criminals and the illegal weapons they possess.

“Today’s arrests highlight law enforcement’s ability to reduce violence across all of Suffolk County when there is a common goal and interagency collaboration.”

Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. said his investigators shared “valuable intelligence with the District Attorney’s Office and Suffolk County Police Department to help apprehend dozens of gang members.”

The investigation was led by Special Investigator Daniel Crerend of the District Attorney’s Gang Task Force, Detective Christopher Marksberry of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Gun Crime Reduction Unit, and Detective Daniel Hogan of the Riverhead Town Police Department.