Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Dylan Cruz and Richard Michel, members of the Red Lane Gorillas set of the Bloods street gang, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Joanna Seybert to racketeering charges. Cruz admitted his roles in two murders committed on Long Island, an attempted murder and conspiring to murder rival gang members in Brooklyn. Michel admitted his role in a murder committed with Cruz, a kidnapping and an attempted murder of a disloyal Bloods member. When sentenced, Cruz and Michel each face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Breon Peace, 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), Patrick J. Ryder, Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD), and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the guilty pleas.
“With today’s guilty pleas, the defendants have admitted their involvement in a slew of senseless violent crimes, including murders, committed in furtherance of a criminal enterprise, the Bloods gang,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office, along with its federal and state law enforcement partners, will continue its unrelenting efforts to eradicate gang violence in the district and hold accountable all those who threaten the safety and well-being of our communities.”
According to court filings and statements made by the defendants at the guilty plea proceedings, Cruz and Michel, along with other members of the Red Lane Gorillas engaged in a violent gang war against rival gangs, including the Crips and the 5-9 Brims set of the Bloods, in Nassau County and Brooklyn. Additionally, Cruz and Michel engaged in extreme violence against anyone suspected of disloyalty or disrespecting their gang.
Cruz and Michel admitted their roles in the July 15, 2012 murder of Anthony Richard, an individual that they wrongly suspected of assisting the Crips in the 2010 murder of a member of their gang. Cruz and Michel, together with fellow gang members and associates to locate the victim, obtained a firearm, and followed the victim’s vehicle to Baldwin Harbor, New York. When Richard victim parked his vehicle, Cruz exited the vehicle he was travelling in, walked up to the victim’s car and fired approximately 15 shots into the victim’s vehicle at close range. Richard was killed and a passenger in the vehicle was wounded. In addition, Cruz admitted to November 17, 2010 shooting of a rival gang member in Roosevelt, New York, as well as conspiring to kill members of the 5-9 Brims, including the February 20, 2016 shooting of a rival gang member in Queens, New York. Michel also admitted to the October 13, 2011 kidnapping and assault of a gang member in Hempstead, New York and the September 9, 2016 attempted murder of a disloyal fellow Bloods member in Uniondale, New York.
Cruz also admitted to committing the October 15, 2014 murder of Ehrik Williams in Hempstead, New York. Cruz wrongly believed that Williams was the individual who had robbed an associate of the defendant. Cruz walked up behind Williams in broad daylight and fired multiple shots at him, killing him.
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 Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole Boeckmann, Michael Maffei and Oren Gleich are in charge of the prosecution.
DYLAN CRUZ (also known as “L Banga” and “Red Lane Banga”)
Brooklyn, New York
RiCHARD MICHEL (also known as “G-Light” and “Gangsta Light”)
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket Nos. 18-CR-664 (S-1) and (S-3) (JS)
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