A DEEP dive inside the ruthless violence surrounding the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation gang as the set's alleged leader, rapper Casanova pleads guilty to racketeering and drug charges.
Casanova is the 13th defendant to plead guilty in the FBI's RICO case against the Brooklyn-based Gorilla Stone gang.
The rapper, born Caswell Senior, admitted to participating in a shooting in Florida in July 2020, a robbery in New York City in August 2018, and conspiring to traffic over 100 kilograms of marijuana.
Prosecutors allege the vicious gang navigates within NYC's five boroughs, Upstate NY, NY prisons, North Carolina and Florida.
Assistant US Attorney Shiva Logarajah claims the gang is "highly organized and highly efficient."
“Most concerning is the organizational commitment to violence. Gorilla Stone members violently enforce internal laws and have access to an alarming supply of firearms,” Logarajah in a 20-page memo last December.
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The alleged head honcho of the gang is Dwight "Dick Wolf" Reid, who is serving 50 years to life in prison for the 2014 killing of a 33-year-old man inside a Harlem bar.
Reid shot the victim, a total stranger, in the forehead and then continued pistol-whipping him as he lay dead, prosecutors alleged.
According to investigators, alleged prison calls revealed Casanova shared his revenue from his music career with Reid, who is being held at Orange County Correctional Facility in upstate New York.
Underneath Reid are eight sets, referred to as “Caves,” including the Money Gang Cave, Immortal Stone Gorilla Gang Cave, the Reign Cave, and Staten Island-based Gorilla Stone Mafia.
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Each "cave" has its own command structure and responsibilities, including the "department of security" that is allegedly tasked with "arming up" members, FBI officials claims.
Investigators claim that Walter "Shells" Luster is the reputed leader of the Money Gang Cave.
The “department of education” shares the history of the gang and focuses “on areas that are imperative to their growth and development,” officials allege.
Members of the gang refer to acts of violence as "pushing the button," prosecutors claim.
The gang’s collective fund is “the kitty,” and guns are referred to as “duffle.”
One of the 16 Gorilla Stone rules orders members to "communicate at all times."
Federal authorities claim members "must check in with someone in their chain of command in order to know where they're going and a list of enemies that have to crushed on sight.”
The Gorilla Stone Nation gang members are accused of committing a slew of crimes, including gun violence, murders, and even allegedly defrauded Covid-19 economic assistance programs.
The highest-ranking street leader, Christopher “Beagle” Erskine ran a scam taking advantage of grants for nonprofits, prosecutors claim.
“D.A. E.M.P.I.R.E.,” which stands for Determined Adults Exceedingly Motivating Peers Into Responsible Entrepreneurs, received government money through bogus unemployment applications tied to Covid relief programs, according to prosecutors.
Meanwhile, alleged GSN member Brandon “Stacks” Soto is accused of participating in the September 2020 murder of a 15-year-old in Poughkeepsie.
Soto allegedly drove the shooter to the scene and then panicked when the car was towed by the NYPD four days later, according to prosecutors.
Officials claim the vehicle was stolen out of an impound lot and torched in a secluded spot in Upper Manhattan.
STATEN ISLAND SET
John Pena, also known as “Tragedy” and “Donn Tragg,” the reputed boss of Staten Island's Gorilla Stone Mafia set, was indicted for the March 2021 killing of Mark Bajandas, 26.
Pena is accused of gunning down Bajandas in the North Shore neighborhood during a memorial for another dead gangbanger, shooting him more than 10 times.
Officials claim Pena went into hiding for three months before popping up again in June of that year, where he is accused of having fatally shot Francesco "Franky" Gonzalez, 23, in the face.
Gonzalez was asleep with his girlfriend in his apartment in New Brighton when the killer, believed to be Pena, forced his way inside and shot him in the head, sources told SILive.
Last December, federal authorities charged 18 alleged members of UGSN on charges including racketeering, murder, narcotics, firearms and fraud.
Casanova's hearing came more than a year and a half after he surrendered to police in New York after he reportedly went on the lam.
“Like 12 of his co-defendants, Caswell Senior, an accomplished recording artist and performer, now stands convicted of playing a leadership role in Gorilla Stone, a particularly violent Bloods gang that operates throughout New York and across the country,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said on Wednesday.
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“In addition to his supervisory role, Senior was an active, hands-on participant in the gang’s senseless violence.”
Casanova faces 60 years in federal prison, with a minimum of five years, when he is sentenced on December 6.
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