For nearly a decade, an East End street gang brazenly sold crack and other narcotics in the open while using murder, assault and robbery to keep parts of eastern Long Island in its grip, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday in Central Islip federal court.
The 19-count superseding indictment, which adds five defendants to the sprawling case, charges 14 members and associates of the Red Stone Gorillas set of the Bloods with attempted murder, assault, racketeering, robbery, drug trafficking and other charges. Two of the defendants — alleged gang leader Jimmy Dean, 41, of Calverton, and Terrill Latney, 39, of Riverhead — were also charged in the indictment with murder in connection with a 2015 fatal shooting.
“Through murder, assaults and drug sales, these members and associates of the Bloods’ Red Stone Gorillas posed a grave danger to communities on eastern Long Island,” said Richard P. Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
The defendants trafficked powder and crack as well as heroin for more than nine years and used violence and threats to keep rivals in line, according to the indictment.
"These subjects have allegedly created such a violent environment in parts of the town where they operate that they were dealing out in the open, without fear," said William F. Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's New York office.
Four defendants — Corey Belcher, 34, of Riverhead, Willie Belcher, 33, of Flanders, Roger Foster, 22, of Baiting Hollow, and Eric Ross, 27, of Flanders — were taken into custody Monday at various locations. Dean and Latney are already in custody, officials said.
The four pleaded not guilty at their arraignments Wednesday in federal court in Central Islip. U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert ordered Willie Belcher, Foster and Ross held without bail. Seybert scheduled a Friday hearing for Corey Belcher, saying she needed additional information from U.S. Pretrial Services before determining if bail would be appropriate. The four, as well as Dean and Latney, could spend the rest of their lives in prison if convicted, according to court documents.
“My client had been gainfully employed and out of trouble for the last three years,” said attorney John F. Kaley of Garden City, who represents Ross.
Attorneys for Corey Belcher, Willie Belcher and Foster all declined to comment.
Dean and Latney will be arraigned on the charges at a later date.
Several of the defendants’ family members attended the arraignment. Some shouted “I love you” afterward as the four men were led out of the courtroom.
A man who identified himself as the Belchers’ uncle told Seybert he came to her courtroom to support them.
“These are not bad kids,” the man, who declined to comment after the hearing, told the judge. “They are good kids. They have changed.”
Prosecutors say Latney and others, after being ordered by Dean to kill a man named Trendell Walker, instead fatally shot Thomas Lacolla, 27, of Riverhead, as he sat in Walker’s car in Flanders in November 2015.
The government also claims Foster shot and wounded a suspected member of the rival Crips gang and a female bystander a few months earlier.
The investigation into street gangs and drug trafficking in the Riverhead area that led to the superseding indictment began in early 2018, according to the court documents, and was a collaboration between the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force and the Suffolk County East End Drug Task Force.
“These are extremely dangerous gang members who are responsible not only for conspiring to commit murder, but for consistently driving crime on the East End through drug dealing and illegal firearm offenses,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said.