Roosevelt Crips Bust Biggest in Nassau History, DA Says

kathleen rice
Kathleen Rice points to a board of mug shots at a news conference in her Mineola office Thursday, April 18, 2013.
Kathleen Rice points to a board of mug shots at a news conference in her Mineola office Thursday, April 18, 2013.

Nassau County authorities say they made their biggest gang bust ever by rounding up 14 leading members of a Roosevelt-based Crips set for alleged attempted murders, assaults, robberies, gun and drug dealing.

Members of the Rollin’ 60s have been accused of selling illegal handguns they smuggled out of state, shooting someone they believed was a witness to those sales, committing a drive-by shooting and dealing heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Also nabbed were four associates of the gang, which authorities described as “ultra-violent.”

“They were a little too cute in how they were advertising,” District Attorney Kathleen Rice told reporters at a news conference after showing a rap video posted on YouTube in which some of the suspects posed with guns, drugs and cash. She said rooting out the leadership all at once will make it harder for the gang to regroup.

The months-long joint investigation with the district attorney’s investigators, Nassau police and the FBI led to the arrest of the set’s leader, 27-year-old Raphael “Gusto” Osborne, who authorities said dealt guns out of a house he shared with fellow gang leader Derick “D-Nice” Hernandez, 21.

The FBI Long Island Gang Task Force—which Suffolk police quit last year—has estimated there are up to 5,000 gang members living among LI’s more than 3 million residents. Most are members of the Bloods, Crips and MS-13, all of which have chapters nationwide.

The Rollin’ 60s have been operating in Roosevelt since about 2001, but authorities kicked their probe into high gear when a member, Michael Benitez, shot and wounded a Hempstead village police officer in December 2011.

Investigators alleged they documented three instances in which suspects bought guns in southern states and sold them illegally last May. In October, Hernandez allegedly shot someone he believed witnessed the sales. Fellow gang members later tried to lure the victim out of hiding, authorities said.

Hernandez and another suspect allegedly shot and wounded a man and a bystander in August, too. Members of the gang also shot a victim outside of a party following an argument in October.

The suspects are believed to be involved in a drive-by shooting last month and a beating and robbery last week as well.

“Gang and gun violence is not going to be tolerated in Nassau County,” Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said. “Period, case closed, the end.”