Federal and local prosecutors unsealed wide-ranging indictments Tuesday against Own Every Dollar, or OED, a “vicious” street gang officials accuse of being responsible for a violent spree of murders, assaults, and robberies across Manhattan and the Bronx.
The gang is also charged under federal racketeering statutes of an extensive drug-trafficking conspiracy provisioning illicit drugs across the five boroughs.
Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, on Tuesday described OED as a “particularly vicious street gang with a reputation for extreme violence and mayhem” in unsealing the 42-count federal indictment against 16 members of the gang.
“For the past four years, OED has wreaked havoc in this city,” Williams said. “Committing multiple murders, multiple armed robberies, shootings, assaults, and also dealing dangerous drugs.”
In addition to the feds’ RICO indictments, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg simultaneously announced a 90-count indictment against 10 members of OED — including two also charged in the federal indictment — on charges including “enterprise corruption,” murder, attempted murder, robbery, assault, and firearms possession.
If convicted on the federal counts, all sixteen OED members charged Tuesday could face the rest of their lives behind bars. Three of the members are charged with offenses eligible for a death sentence, though at present there is a moratorium on federal executions.
Prosecutors allege that OED, a subsidiary of the Trinitarios, are responsible for at least five murders and twelve attempted murders over the last four years in addition to a slew of robberies and assaults, and allege the gang is behind a drug-trafficking conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, crack, oxycodone, and other substances.
The group is “highly structured,” said Bragg, with members required to cite an oath of loyalty and follow a formal, written code that can only be changed by a vote among members.
“It is, therefore, no surprise that OED had the capacity to carry out carefully-planned and executed, heinous criminal activity,” Bragg said.
The gang carefully planned out its robberies, which often took place at nightclubs and restaurants, by scouring social media ahead of time to scope out their victims. Members would pack semiautomatic weapons and made their getaways in luxury vehicles; if any targets resisted, the perps would pistol-whip or sometimes even shoot them.
Police and prosecutors in recent years have focused an increasing amount of attention on street gangs that they say are responsible for a hugely disproportionate amount of crime and violence on city streets.
“Today our neighborhoods are safer,” Bragg said. “We will continue to work together to…focus on the small number of violence drivers who account for so much of the carnage we see on our streets.”
Nonetheless, gang takedowns have often raised civil rights questions among criminal justice reformers, with conspiracy charges sometimes being wielded to accuse people of gang activity on flimsy pretenses, such as who ones associates with or what color clothing they wear.