Two alleged crack-cocaine pushers from Brooklyn could face the death penalty after being indicted for the murder of a rival at a public housing project last year, prosecutors announced Thursday.
Danzel Mackins and Darrin Samuels, both of whom had been previously hit with federal narcotics conspiracy charges, were additionally charged for killing Felton Durant, who was gunned down at the Red Hook Houses on April 25, 2021 during a drug trafficking dispute.
If convicted of Durant’s murder, both suspects could be executed; the death penalty remains legal under the federal jurisdiction, though capital murder charges on the state level are punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.
Federal judges make the final determination on sentencing in all cases.
“As alleged in the superseding indictment unsealed today, Danzel Mackins and Darrin Samuels participated in that brutal killing, which took place in the middle of a busy public housing development in South Brooklyn. Thanks to the hard work of the NYPD, the defendants have been charged with this heinous crime,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement on Aug. 4. “To be clear, we are not going to give up any neighborhood, anywhere in this city to drug violence, and the charges unsealed today should make that clear to all violent actors who endanger our neighborhoods and our communities.”
Prosecutors said Mackins and Samuels allegedly fired multiple shots at Durant in front of 100 Centre Mall within the Red Hook Houses Complex at about 5:33 p.m. on April 25.
Officers from the 76th Precinct found Durant shot multiple times about the bullet, torso and hand. They also located a wounded, 28-year-old man, who was grazed in the arm by a bullet while making a delivery nearby.
EMS rushed Durant to NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Paramedics treated the injured delivery worker at the scene.
Both Mackins and Samuels were previously charged in connection with the crack cocaine conspiracy. Two other alleged ring members — Brooklyn residents Jamel Williams and Brandon Wilkins — were arrested on Aug. 3 for their alleged participation in the drug-dealing conspiracy.
“The wanton depravity outlined in the charges leveled against these individuals today will never be acceptable in any neighborhood of New York City,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. “By dismantling their drug trafficking organization, and by putting a stop to the violence so often associated with this illegal activity, the NYPD and our law enforcement partners have affirmed our promise to the people we serve: Anyone who deals in this type of violent, destructive behavior will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Williams and Wilkins face a maximum sentence of up to 40 years in prison if convicted.