District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced the arrests and indictment of 19 reputed members of the King of Castle Organization on charges ranging from conspiracy to sell narcotics to murder and other offenses. Some of the defendants also belong to Sex, Money, Murder, a group affiliated with the Bloods. Two of the accused are rap singers who were recently featured in the August 26 issue of Billboard Magazine.
The grand jury returned a 100 count indictment charging all but two of the defendants with multiple counts of conspiracy to sell narcotics, commit murder, attempted murder, robberies and other acts of violence in connection with a one million dollar a year heroin and crack cocaine ring which operated primarily in and around the Castle Hill Housing Development. The two defendants who were not implicated in the ongoing conspiracy were charged with the possession and sale of narcotics on one occasion on August 28.
Johnson said: “This indictment is the result of a 16-month long investigation that relied heavily on information obtained through intensive surveillance, court approved wiretaps on 23 separate telephone lines, and other investigative techniques. During the course of the investigation we seized 11 handguns and revolvers, over a kilo of cocaine in both crack and powder form, 130 bags of heroin, marijuana and more than $63,000.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, authorities began executing arrest warrants for defendants named in the indictment. Most were taken into custody without incident and additional arrests are expected. Eighteen of the nineteen defendants were arraigned on Wednesday before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett in Part M-60 and ordered held without bail. One defendant, a rap artist who was arrested late Wednesday afternoon, is to be arraigned tomorrow, September 11, in Part M-60.
Excluding the two individuals not charged in the conspiracy, all of the other defendants are facing a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment if convicted of Conspiracy in the 1st degree, a Class A-1 felony offense. It is alleged that these gang members, “acting-in-concert”, conspired to use children under the age of 16 to sell illegal narcotics and make deliveries to customers. Lesser counts of Conspiracy in the 2nd and 4th degrees, Class B and E felony offenses, have also been filed.
Conspiracy in the 2nd degree is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 25 years imprisonment.
The indictment also charges various defendants with specific counts of murder in the 2nd degree, manslaughter in the 1st degree, attempted murder in the 2nd degree, assault in the 1st and 2nd degrees, robbery in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees, attempted robbery in the 1st and 2nd degrees, burglary in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees, criminal possession of a weapon in the 2nd degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th degrees, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the 3rd degree, and reckless endangerment in the 1st degree. The most serious of these felony offenses are punishable by maximum sentences of 25 years to life imprisonment for murder, 25 years imprisonment for manslaughter in the 1st degree, attempted murder, assault in the 1st degree, robbery in the 1st degree, burglary in the 1st degree, and related offenses.
Khalil Harris (aka Dolla), 26, is alleged to be the head of the King of Castle Organization. Harris, of 280 East 161st Street, has been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy in the 1st and 2nd degrees in connection with criminal activities that occurred during the ongoing conspiracy from September 5, 2003 through September 4, 2008.
Harris’ two younger brothers have also been indicted. The grand jury charged Hassan Harris (aka Hocus), 25, with Assault in the 1st and 2nd degrees and related gun possession offenses in connection with a shooting incident on August 29, 2007. Four people, including three innocent bystanders, were wounded when Harris allegedly opened fire on a man who was involved in a turf dispute with the King of Castle Organization. The shooting occurred on the street near Park Avenue and 182nd Street. Shariff Harris (aka S-One), 23, has been charged with multiple counts of Robbery and Burglary in the 1st and 2nd degrees in connection with crimes tied to the alleged conspiracy by the gang.
Khalieh McMorris (aka 2-5), 20, has been charged with murder in the 2nd degree in the shooting death of Russell Allen on February 23, 2008 and attempted murder in the 2nd degree in shootings that left two men, Erin Hall and Scott Torres, seriously wounded on February 1, 2006. All three shootings involved turf disputes with alleged rival drug dealers who were not affiliated with the Kings of Castle Organization. Allen was shot to death in a 4th floor hallway at 575 Castle Hill Avenue while Hall and Torres were shot multiple times as they sat in a car parked in front of 575 Castle Hill Avenue.