Bronx Gang Member Who Shot 12-Year Old Child In Playground Sentenced To 22 Years In Prison

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that NICHOLAS JOSEPH, a/k/a “Gotti,” a/k/a “Finesse,” was sentenced today to 22 years in prison in connection with his participation in the Castle Hill Crew, a violent street gang based in the Castle Hill Houses in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx, including for his role in the shooting of a 12-year old child on April 28, 2017, narcotics trafficking, firearms offenses, fraud, and other acts of violence.  On September 22, 2021, a jury found JOSEPH guilty of racketeering conspiracy, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, and firearms offenses after a seven-day trial.  U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel imposed today’s sentence.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “For years, Nicholas Joseph actively participated in the Castle Hill Crew, a violent gang that infected the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx with guns, drug dealing, fraud, and violence.  These crimes included a shooting in a crowded playground next to an elementary school, which seriously injured a 12-year-old child.  Today’s lengthy sentence sends an important message to gang members who commit crimes that they will be apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

As alleged in the Indictment and based on the evidence at trial and statements made in open court:

Between in or about 2014 and in or about December 2020, JOSEPH was a member and associate of the Castle Hill Crew, a racketeering enterprise that operated principally in the Castle Hill Houses in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx.  In order to enrich the enterprise, preserve and protect the power of the enterprise, and enhance its criminal operations, Castle Hill Crew members and associates committed, conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence, including murder; distributed and possessed with intent to distribute narcotics; engaged in fraud; and obtained, possessed, and used firearms.

On or about November 19, 2015, JOSEPH and others stabbed a rival gang member in the head and back.

On or about April 28, 2017, JOSEPH shot at rival gang members in the vicinity of the Story Playground in the Bronx, New York, during which a 12-year-old child was injured.

In addition, on or about July 10, 2020, and in or around November 2020 and December 2020, JOSEPH illegally possessed firearms and ammunition. 

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In addition to his prison term, JOSEPH, 23, of the Bronx, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York City Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the New York City Department of Investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew K. Chan, Celia V. Cohen, Emily A. Johnson, and Justin V. Rodriguez are in charge of the prosecution.