Authorities: Hunt on for leader of killer NYC gang

AP News
Posted: Feb 01, 2012 5:01 PM
Authorities: Hunt on for leader of killer NYC gang

It's one of the more colorful street gang names around: Six Tre Outlaw Gangsta Disciples Folk Nation _ or Folk Nation, for short.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn allege that a particularly violent faction of the gang was behind at least four murders, three attempted murders and other mayhem that harmed innocent bystanders and terrorized the Ebbets Field Apartments housing complex, located where the storied ballpark once stood.

A day after announcing charges against the faction's upper echelon, the FBI and the New York Police Department sought the public's help in a search Wednesday for a top lieutenant and another member still on the run.

The fugitives were identified as 24 year-old Devon Rodney and 19-year-old Rahleek Odom. An undisclosed reward was offered for tips leading to their capture.

The Folk Nation "claimed its turf by force ... leaving a trail of victims in its wake," said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.

Said Janice Fedarcyk, head of the FBI's New York office: "The defendants' ruthlessness was matched by their recklessness."

Authorities say that the Folk Nation name was derived from Chicago's Black Gangster Disciples Nation and that its members have clashed with New York City's versions of the Crips and Bloods street gangs. They say Rodney and two other Folk Nation leaders _ both arrested on Tuesday _ used a crew of 40 to 50 followers to stage armed robberies in and around New York and to settle scores with rivals.

One robbery of a jewelry store in a mall in Hackensack, N.J., netted hundreds of thousands of dollars in luxury watches, authorities said. There were similar jewelry heists in Manhattan, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Other times, authorities say, the gang used Internet ads to lure victims to secluded spots in Brooklyn so it could rob them at gunpoint.

Court documents allege that in 2008, Rodney sanctioned the killing of a suspected gang rival who was spotted at a block party near the Ebbets Field Apartments. The shooters botched the job, instead shooting and wounding a 10-year-old girl as she entered a building, the papers say.

In another instance, Folk Nation members who were on a balcony at Ebbets Field spotted a suspected Blood working out at a playground across the street, the papers say. On Rodney's orders, a Folk Nation gunman "walked to the playground and shot (the victim) square in the chest," they add. The man died at the scene.

Folk Nation also made it clear to its members and Ebbets Field residents that anyone who cooperated with law enforcement could lose his or her life.

"In the view of the gang," the papers say, "snitching is a capital offense."