HARRISBURG — A Harrisburg man is one of nine defendants named in a superseding indictment that was unsealed Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn.
Norman Marrero, 35, faces drug and gun-related charges for his alleged participation in a drug-trafficking enterprise — referred to as the “Bushwick Crew” — based in Brooklyn and Queens, according to the United States Attorney’s Office. Specifically, Marrero is accused of participating in the shooting of a drug customer to extort him for a drug debt owed to the Bushwick Crew.
Marrero was arraigned at the federal courthouse in Harrisburg and ordered detained. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, the Office states.
Marrero, also known as “Tito,” is one of five new defendants facing charges — four others have been previously charged and face new charges. The 19-count indictment charges the defendants with racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion conspiracy and heroin distribution conspiracy, the Office adds. A ninth defendant is charged with murder in aid of racketeering.
Every defendant except Marrero reside in Brooklyn, New York — seven of which face murder charges in connection with incidents from August 2012, March 2013 and September 2014, according to the Office. They include: Maurice Brown, 27, Lance Goodwin, 29, Tyquan Griem, 28, Luis Lopez, 36, Jason Pantojas, 30, Miguel Pantojas, 21 and Peter Vasquez, 31.
Like Marrero, 30-year-old Jaquan Cooper faces drug and gun-related charges.
“As alleged, the defendants were part of a violent crew that beat, tortured and killed in furtherance of their heroin trafficking,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “These charges demonstrate the commitment by this Office and our law enforcement partners to rid our community of the extreme violence associated with drug dealing.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney added, “Not only are these gang members pushing deadly drugs in our most vulnerable communities, they’re allegedly killing rivals and bystanders in their attempts to maintain power and control. We’ve stated before the FBI Metro Safe Streets Task Force will continue our pursuit of the leadership in these gangs, and stop their violent and illegal trafficking enterprise before more and more people die from either addiction or at the hands of gang members.”