Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, United States District Judge Frederic Block sentenced Frank Smith, also known as “Fresh,” a leader of the Coney Island-based gang Rival Impact, to two mandatory life sentences plus an additional 20 years’ imprisonment for racketeering, including predicate acts of murder conspiracy and narcotics offenses, as well as two counts of murder-in-aid-of racketeering for the murder of rival gang members Terrance Serrano and Rashawn Washington. These sentences also include two counts of causing a death through the use of a firearm. Smith was convicted by a jury in June 2018 following a three-week trial.
Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence.
“Today’s sentence brings a measure of justice to the families of the victims of these calculated murders and holds Frank Smith accountable not only for the lives he snuffed out, but also for the devastation he and the other members of his street gang caused for years in Coney Island and elsewhere with their drug trafficking and senseless violence,” stated Acting United States Attorney Kasulis. “This Office, together with our federal and local law enforcement partners, will continue to use all available tools to disrupt and dismantle violent street gangs that wreak havoc on our communities.” Ms. Kasulis expressed her appreciation to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for its assistance in the case.
Between January 2000 and January 2014, Smith was a member—ultimately rising to become one of the leaders—of the Rival Impact street gang, a criminal enterprise based in the Mermaid Houses in Coney Island. For more than a decade, Smith and other members of Rival Impact distributed heroin, crack and other narcotics in Brooklyn, New York, and several other states. Smith and other Rival Impact members also engaged in multiple acts of violence in connection with their drug trafficking, including murders, attempted murders, armed robberies and assaults. By the late 2000s, Rival Impact was engaged in a war with members of Thirty-O, a rival street gang based around the Coney Island Houses. After a high-ranking Rival Impact member was slain, purportedly by Thirty-O crew members, Smith and other members of Rival Impact plotted retaliatory murders of Thirty-O members, including Serrano and Washington, who Smith and his gang believed were responsible for the killing of their Rival Impact member. On October 4, 2010, after learning that Serrano and Washington were at a nightclub near Union Square in Manhattan, Smith and another Rival Impact member drove from Coney Island to Manhattan, where they laid in wait to ambush Serrano and Washington. Once Serrano and Washington entered their car, Smith and his co-conspirator opened fire, killing both men.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. As part of the program, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and their local communities to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Maria Cruz Melendez, Jennifer M. Sasso and Josh Hafetz are in charge of the prosecution.
FRANK SMITH (also known as “Fresh”)
Brooklyn, New York
EDNY Docket No. 16-CR-346 (S-1)
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