For Immediate Release
Second KDY Crew Member Pleads Guilty to Violent Crime Spree of Multiple Carjackings and Armed Robberies
Defendant’s Co-Conspirator Was Sentenced to 15 Years Earlier this Month
WASHINGTON — Azriel Ethan Echavarria, 22, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today to committing a string of armed carjackings and violent armed robberies with two co-defendants in the District and Suburban Maryland during 2022.
The plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves; Chief Pamela Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department; ATF Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai of the Washington Field Division; DEA Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Washington Division; Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department; and Chief Marcus G. Jones of the Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Department.
Echavarria pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce, also known as a Hobbs Act robbery; conspiracy to commit carjacking; and armed robbery.
According to the plea paperwork, Echavarria admitted to personally participating in the armed robberies of six individuals, five businesses and/or their employees and two armed carjackings.
The Honorable Beryl A. Howell scheduled Echavarria’s sentencing for May 10.
One of Echavarria’s co-conspirators, Tyrell Jordan Stewart, 25, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Jan. 12, after pleading guilty in the same spree of carjackings and violent armed robberies.
Had the case gone to trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office would have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Echavarria conspired his two charged co-defendants to commit a spree of robberies and carjackings of individuals and businesses in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Specifically, Echavarria and his two co-defendants committed 5 commercial robberies, 2 armed carjackings and at least 12 armed robberies over the course of their conspiracy.
According to the government’s evidence, Echavarria and his co-defendants are members of the Kennedy Street Crew, or KDY, a violent street gang that operates in the Kennedy Street neighborhood in Northwest Washington, D.C. KDY is among the largest crews in the District based on both territory and its vast membership.
The trio’s violent spree occurred during the first three months of 2022. The men typically planned their robberies the night before and executed early in the morning. To avoid detection from law enforcement, the trio typically began a day’s robberies by stealing a vehicle to use in their subsequent robberies. If the vehicle was occupied or if the owner was close by, the men used firearms, force and intimidation to carjack it. After the sprees, the men sold the vehicles for added profit. A hallmark of the defendants’ robberies was the use of force and/or violence against their victims.
On Feb. 8, 2022, for instance, Echavarria and his co-defendants traveled from Northeast Washington to Chevy Chase, Maryland, to steal a Toyota Rav4. After stealing the SUV, the trio traveled to a convenience store in the 8100 block of Fenton St. in Silver Spring. At the store, Echavarria approached a delivery man making a scheduled drop off while armed with a handgun. As a co-defendant waited in the Rav4 as the getaway driver, Echavarria and his other co-defendant punched the delivery man and then pistol whipped them with his weapon. A co-defendant then took the delivery man’s wallet and cases of product from the delivery truck. After completing the robbery, the trio fled the scene.
On Feb. 20, 2022, Echavarria and his co-defendants stole a Honda Ridgeline truck in Silver Spring, Maryland, shortly before 6 a.m. Less than an hour later, police received multiple reports of suspects in a black Ridgeline truck who were attempting to break into other vehicles. That same morning, Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) officers responded to a convenience store in the 3500 block of University Boulevard West in Kensington, Maryland. Victims reported that three armed men had entered the store and robbed the cashier of currency and a cell phone. While a co-defendant robbed the register, Echavarria placed a customer in a chokehold. When the customer resisted, the co-defendant fired a round to intimidate the customer into complying with their demands.
On the way out, Echavarria stopped another customer, held a pistol to the customer’s right temple then grabbed the customer’s car keys from his left pants pocket. The three armed men fled in the customer’s Lexus SUV.
That same morning, MCPD officers separately responded to an armed robbery of a mini market in the 4800 block of Boiling Brook Parkway, in Rockville, Maryland. Again, a co-defendant discharged his firearm to intimidate the cashier into complying with his demands. All three armed men fled the store in what appeared to be the same stolen Ridgeline used earlier.
At 7:25 a.m., an MCPD officer spotted the stolen Ridgeline and stolen Lexus SUV and pursued the vehicles southbound on 16th Street toward the District at speeds topping 100 mph. The MCPD officer ultimately lost sight of both vehicles. That same morning, Echavarria and his co-defendants committed an armed robbery of someone waiting at a bus stop in the 7700 block of Georgia Avenue, NW, one block from the D.C./Maryland line. One of the armed men placed the victim in a chokehold. The other pistol-whipped the victim in the face. The two stole the victim’s wallet and fled.
Additional carjackings and violent robberies followed. Early on the morning of March 2, Echavarria and his co-conspirators drove a black Dodge Charger with stolen plates from Northeast Washington to Maryland. In the 6000 block of 64th Ave., Riverdale, the conspirators spotted a driver inside of a black Audi A6 sedan in a commercial parking lot and boxed the Audi in with the Charger. Two of the gunmen exited the Charger with firearms pointed at the driver. The driver handed over their keys and their wallet. The gunmen fled in the stolen Audi back towards the District.
Soon thereafter, Echavarria and his co-defendants entered a convenience store on the 11000 block of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring and robbed the counter clerk at gunpoint of $500 and lottery tickets.
Echavarria was arrested Feb. 6, 2023, in Washington D.C.
The prosecutions of Echavarria, along with his two codefendants, are part of an ongoing coordinated law enforcement investigation into the Kennedy Street Crew. The multi-year investigation reflects the efforts of nearly every federal law enforcement agency in the District of Columbia, along with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Violent Crime Suppression Division.
The above efforts are part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
The case is being investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office; the Metropolitan Police Department; the Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Department; the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department; and ATF’s Washington Field Division.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew W. Kinskey and Sitara Witanachchi of the Violence Reduction and Trafficking Offenses Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Valuable assistance was also provided by former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Lynch.