For Immediate Release
“BMB” Gang Member Convicted In Manhattan Federal Court Of Murder, Racketeering, Narcotics, And Firearms Charges
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DONQUE TYRELL, a/k/a “Polo Rell,” was found guilty yesterday of murder in aid of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, narcotics trafficking conspiracy, distributing narcotics near schools and playgrounds, and firearms offenses in connection with his membership in the “Big Money Bosses” (“BMB”), a violent street gang that operated primarily on White Plains Road from 215th Street to 233rd Street in the Bronx. TYRELL was convicted of aiding and abetting the murder of 17-year-old Keshon Potterfield on June 22, 2014, at a backyard party in the vicinity of East 232nd Street in the Bronx. A unanimous jury convicted TYRELL on all counts of the controlling indictment following a six-day trial before United States District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As proven at trial, Donque Tyrell participated in the murder of a 17-year-old who dared go to a backyard party in a part of the Bronx that Tyrell’s gang, the Big Money Bosses, claimed as its own. Tyrell then celebrated that murder on Facebook and in YouTube rap videos. Gang violence threatens the safety and security of all New Yorkers, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prevent this type of violence from happening in our neighborhoods.”
According to court documents and the evidence at trial:
BMB is a subset of the “Young Bosses,” or “YBz” street gang, which operates throughout New York City. Between 2007 and 2016, members and associates of BMB committed numerous acts of violence against rival gang members in the Bronx – including murders, attempted murders, and armed robberies – and sold crack cocaine and marijuana.
TYRELL was a member of BMB. On June 22, 2014, TYRELL and other members of BMB showed up at a birthday party in the backyard of a residence in the vicinity of East 232nd Street in the Bronx, in an area that BMB considered to be part of its territory. Potterfield was one of the guests at the party, and was perceived to be associated with a rival gang. After arriving at the party, TYRELL obtained a gun from an associate and passed it to another BMB member who then shot and killed Potterfield. Potterfield was 17. TYRELL celebrated Potterfield’s murder in public Facebook postings and in rap music videos posted on YouTube in which he taunted rival gang members and threatened future violence.
TYRELL was arrested in this case as a result of a multi-year investigation by the New York City Police Department’s Bronx Gang Squad (the “Bronx Gang Squad”), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Violent Gang Unit (“HSI”), the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and the Joint Firearms Task Force of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) into gang violence in the Northern Bronx. On April 27, 2016, 63 members and associates of BMB were charged with racketeering conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy, narcotics distribution, and firearms charges. TYRELL was the last defendant outstanding in the case.
* * *
In addition to the murder in aid of racketeering conviction, TYRELL, 22, of the Bronx, New York, was convicted of conspiring to commit racketeering as a result of his membership in BMB, conspiring to sell narcotics, selling narcotics within 1000 feet of schools and playgrounds, using firearms in connection with the gang and drug offenses, an attempted assault with a firearm in connection with his BMB membership, and attempting to rob a livery cab driver in the Bronx by hitting him in the head with a firearm. TYRELL is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. TYRELL is scheduled to be sentenced on September 14, 2018, before Judge Rakoff.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding work of the NYPD’s Bronx Homicide Task Force, the NYPD’s 47th Precinct Detective Squad, the NYPD’s Bronx Gang Squad, HSI, DEA, and ATF.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Drew Skinner, Hagan Scotten, and Allison Nichols tried the case.