A member of the Bloods street gang who had been released last week from a federal jail in Brooklyn because she was at risk of catching the coronavirus was sent back to the jail for violating the conditions of home release, court papers say.
Kotarra Jackson, 38, of Riverhead, a member of the Red Stone Gorillas set of the Bloods on the East End who was arrested on charges of drug dealing, was seen by FBI agents and local police at various locations during the week, including by a liquor store, a deli and a pizzeria, and talking with people on the street in front of a relative’s home in Shirley, according to court papers. The relative’s home was where Jackson was supposed to be confined for home release.
U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert, who had ordered Jackson’s released temporarily on April 13 ordered her back to federal jail in Brooklyn Friday after a Thursday hearing conducted by telephone. The jail, the Metropolitan Detention Center, is commonly known as the MDC.
Jackson, who has had 15 convictions for drug dealing and assault, was considered at a high risk of catching the disease in jail because she suffers from asthma, diabetes, weighs 300 lbs. and lost her right arm in a car accident, according to her attorney Anthony La Pinta, of Hauppauge.
Her release was to be temporary, pending the abatement of the coronavirus crisis, officials said.
During law enforcement surveillance, Jackson was seen in close proximity to people while not wearing a face mask, though she had been warned that during her release she should maintain social distancing and wear a face mask in those situations, Eastern District federal prosecutor Michael Maffei said in court papers.
In addition to endangering the people Jackson came in contact with, she also claimed to have asthma, which made her especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, Maffei said. Yet, Jackson also was seen smoking cigarettes on several occasions, Maffei said.
“Setting aside the blatant, nonchalant violations of her detention, [by smoking and not maintaining social distancing] Jackson has demonstrated clearly, and repeatedly, that her ‘concerns’ about her health and her ‘fears’ of contracting COVID-19 were nothing more than convenient lies to the Court in an effort to secure her release,” Maffei said.
Suggesting that his client’s lack of taking proper coronavirus precautions assured that Jackson would be sent back to jail, defense attorney La Pinta said Monday, “The court’s decision to quickly revoke Ms. Jackson’s bail and remand her back to custody demonstrates the serious and urgent need for social distancing and the wearing of a mask when in public to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
Jackson was one of more than a dozen members or associates of the Red Stone Gorillas set of the Bloods arrested in November 2018 by the FBI and the Suffolk County East End Drug Task Force in a crackdown on the street gang’s activity in the Riverhead area.
Earlier in April, Seybert declined to release from the MDC to home confinement an associate of the Bloods, who was among those arrested along with Jackson, in the gang crackdown. The associate, Terrill Latney, 40, of Riverhead, who had pleaded guilty to taking part in a murder and was awaiting sentencing, claimed that his obesity — he weighs 460 pounds — made him especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.