Two Leaders Of Bronx Gang “18 Park” Plead Guilty And Admit Participation In Murder And Racketeering Offenses
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that two leaders of the violent Bronx gang known as “18 Park” pled guilty yesterday before the U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer to firearms offenses in connection with murders and racketeering offenses that they engaged in on behalf of the gang. MARQUIS WRIGHT pled guilty to two counts of possessing and using firearms, including in connection with WRIGHT’s role in the September 28, 2008, murder of Brandon Howard, 18, and the May 29, 2011, murder of Johnny Moore, 16. JONATHAN RODRIGUEZ pled guilty on August 10, 2017, to two counts of possessing and using firearms, including in connection with RODRIGUEZ’s role in the murder of Brandon Howard. RODRIGUEZ and WRIGHT are scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Engelmayer on December 12 and December 14, 2017, respectively.
Manhattan Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said: “For years, the 18 Park gang wreaked havoc in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, forcing law-abiding neighborhood residents to endure regular gunfire, drug dealing, and violent assaults. 18 Park’s pattern of violence culminated in the murders of Brandon Howard and Johnny Moore, two young men whose families were devastated by their loss. We want to thank our law enforcement partners, who have relentlessly pursued justice for Brandon Howard and Johnny Moore, and who have brought 18 Park’s reign of terror to an end.”
According to the allegations in court documents, including the Information and a previously filed criminal complaint, and statements made during court proceedings:
From 2006 to 2016, the 18 Park gang operated primarily in and around the Patterson Houses, a New York City public housing development in the Mott Haven area of the Bronx. Members of 18 Park sold crack cocaine and marijuana on a near-daily basis, turning the area in and around the Patterson Houses into an open-air drug market. 18 Park members used firearms and violence to assert the gang’s control over the area. Both WRIGHT and RODRIGUEZ served as leaders of 18 Park, and were integral to the success of its drug trade.
On September 28, 2008, RODRIGUEZ confronted 18-year-old Brandon Howard in the hallway immediately outside a house party at 315 East 143rd Street, and shot him to death. WRIGHT accompanied RODRIGUEZ to the party and aided and abetted his commission of the murder.
On May 29, 2011, Marquis WRIGHT drove another 18 Park member, Wali Burgos, to the vicinity of 2625 Third Avenue so that Burgos could shoot and kill a member of a rival gang. Burgos did not shoot a rival gang member, but instead fired his gun into a crowd and killed 16-year-old Johnny Moore. After the shooting, WRIGHT drove Burgos away from the scene of the crime. Burgos previously pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy and admitted to his role in the murder of Johnny Moore. On January 13, 2017, Burgos was sentenced to 262 months in prison.
WRIGHT, 29, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years, and RODRIGUEZ, 28, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years. With the guilty pleas of WRIGHT and RODRIGUEZ, 25 members of 18 Park have now been convicted by this Office of racketeering, firearms, and narcotics offenses.
Mr. Kim thanked the ATF, the DEA, and the NYPD for their work in this three-year investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Max Nicholas, Jordan Estes, and Samson Enzer are in charge of the prosecution.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Southern District of New York