For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney Discusses Anti-Gun Violence Efforts, Announces Indictment of Defendant Allegedly Involved in Murder of Rochester Police Officer
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross joined with law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local levels today to announce the return of an indictment of the leader and members of a violent drug trafficking organization and to discuss ongoing efforts aimed at reducing violence, in particular gun violence, in the City of Rochester.
“My message to those who think that they can terrorize our community with senseless acts of violence is ‘don’t do it’.” “Our office, together with our law enforcement partners, is vigilant, working day and night to hold those committing crimes accountable. We will continue these efforts to ensure that the community can feel safe and community members can enjoy the summer.”
Over the last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has worked closely with the RPD, ATF, FBI, USMS, NYSP, MCSO, DEA, and the Monroe County District Attorney's Office to target, investigate, and bring federal charges against violent offenders and those who possess and illegally use guns in Rochester. To that end, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has adjusted its charging practices to communicate with RPD and ATF, quickly and effectively, to screen gun arrests and determine whether they are appropriate for federal prosecution. Once federal charges are brought, in appropriate cases, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will make a motion to the court to detain defendants who pose a danger to the community or who are likely to flee pending trial. This has helped reduce the number of violent offenders and illegal gun possessors who are returned to the community after arrest, which has helped to reduce violence in the city.
As part of its gun violence initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has pursued larger, more organized violent groups. Working closely with RPD, ATF and other law enforcement partners, the Office has targeted two violent groups who were engaged in a feud with each other. As a result of this investigation, 23 defendants have been charged in criminal complaints. In addition to these complaints, last week the federal grand jury in Rochester returned a 10-count indictment against Brandon Washington, Deadrick Fulwiley, Derrick Steele and Jermell Washington, charging them with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana from various drug houses they operated in the City of Rochester. The four defendants are also charged with possessing, using, and carrying firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking crimes. In addition, Brandon Washington and Deadrick Fulwiley are charged with possessing, using, and carrying a machine gun in furtherance of their drug trafficking crimes. Brandon Washington is alleged to be the leader of an armed drug trafficking organization in Rochester that became involved in a violent dispute with a rival gang headed by Rasheem Sullivan during the summer of 2022. Sullivan, along with eight additional Bloods gang members, were charged in December 2022 with narcotics conspiracy and weapons offenses. The conflict between Washington and Sullivan resulted in multiple instances of violence, including drive-by shootings, arsons, assaults, and murders. These included the ambush shooting of Rochester Police Officers Anthony Mazurkiewicz and Sino Seng on July 21, 2023, which resulted in the death of Officer Mazurkiewicz.
As a result of the hard work of our law enforcement partners and our collaboration with the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, since July of 2022, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged approximately 100 defendants with federal gun crimes. These arrests and the underlying investigations have resulted in more than 100 illegal firearms being removed from the community. Most importantly, these efforts have resulted in a reduction in the volume of gun violence in Rochester in the first half of 2023.