Seven members and associates of the notorious Mount Vernon-based street gang, “Boss Playa Family” or “BPF,” were indicted on various gang-related charges, including murder, racketeering, illegal firearms and narcotics charges Wednesday, announced United States Attorney Preet Bharara, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore and FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez.
The seven suspects charged are:
Jamel Upson, 31, of Mount Vernon
Shawn Evans, 27, of Mount Vernon
Antoine Little, 32, of Bedford, Tx.
Tyrone McCallum, 28, of Mount Vernon
Portland Ramseur, 30, of Mount Vernon
Gorham Valentine, 30, of Mount Vernon
Jason White, 32, of Mount Vernon
All seven suspects were charged with racketeering conspiracy and use of or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime. All suspects face a mandatory minimum of 10 years for the firearm charges and a maximum of life in prison, the U.S. attorney said.
Upson also faces several murder-related charges including two counts of murder in the aid of racketeering, and two counts of murder through the use of a firearm. Upson faces the death penalty if convicted, the U.S. attorney said. Upson, Ramseur and White were also charged with narcotics conspiracy.
Two of the defendants charged in the Indictment were arrested Wednesday. Antoine Little was arrested in Bedford, Texas, and will be presented Wednesday in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas. Gorham Valentine was arrested Wednesday in Norwalk, Connecticut and will be presented this Wednesday afternoon along with Ramseur in White Plains federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith. Four of the seven defendants charged in the Indictment unsealed Wednesday, Jamel Upson, Tyrone McCallum, Portland Ramseur, and Jason White, were previously in state custody.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Members of the BPF gang allegedly unleashed a terrifying wave of violence on the streets of Mount Vernon. Over the course of several years, BPF gunfire erupted in and around the gang’s territory with shocking and tragic frequency. On two of those occasions, the defendant Jamel Upson, one of BPF’s leaders, allegedly shot and killed members of a rival gang. The charges brought today serve as a reminder that we and our law enforcement partners are determined to combat the scourge of gang and drug violence in Mount Vernon.”
Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore stated: “The allegations in this indictment describe the frightening and brazen hold these defendants had on neighborhoods in and around the City of Mount Vernon. Over the past several years we have worked tirelessly to pursue members and associates of this gang and now as a result of the collaborative efforts of federal, state and local law authorities these defendants will be held accountable for the crimes they now stand accused of. Our priority is and will continue to be enhancing the safety and quality of life for all of the hard-working residents of the City of Mount Vernon.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez stated: “As alleged, the Mount Vernon-based street gang ‘Boss Playa Family’ used violence and an array of criminal activities to enhance the gang’s power and protect its territory. It’s gang related activity like this that infects our communities with an illness that kills our neighborhoods’ safety and growth. However, there is an antidote to this that is made of law enforcement working at both the federal and local level to get gangs like this off the street.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment and other documents in the public record:
The BPF street gang was a criminal enterprise that operated principally in and around the City of Mount Vernon, New York, from at least in or about 2007 up to and including 2014. BPF members and associates sought to enhance the gang’s power, protect and expand its territory, and enrich its members through a wide array of criminal activities, including murder, attempted murder, larceny, arson, and the distribution of cocaine and marijuana. BPF members and associates expressly acknowledged and celebrated their gang affiliation through various means, including by wearing clothing emblazoned with “Boss Playa Family” and “BPF,” and by creating and posting on the Internet rap videos that promoted BPF.
One of BPF’s principal objectives was to maintain and exercise control over its territory, the area of Seventh Avenue and Sandford Boulevard in Mount Vernon. To that end, BPF sought to assert its dominance over rival gangs, particularly the “Goonies,” a gang based in a neighboring area of Mount Vernon. During the time period relevant to the Indictment, BPF members and associates were responsible for numerous acts of violence targeting members of the rival Goonies gang, including multiple murders and many other shootings. In furtherance of such violence, firearms were maintained in stash locations by certain BPF members and associates for shared use by other members and associates of the gang when guns were needed to strike or retaliate against the Goonies.
Check out the chart containing charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants below. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the Mount Vernon Police Department. He also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for its participation and support in this ongoing investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys George Turner and Daniel Filor are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.