Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, Pedro Merchant, a member of the Outlaws street gang, was sentenced by United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco to 20 years’ imprisonment for shooting and killing 17-year-old Dante Quinones during a dispute over gang allegiance. Merchant pled guilty in April 2018.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Patrick J. Ryder, Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD), announced the sentence.
“With today’s sentence Merchant is being held accountable for the senseless act he committed—taking a human life in the name of his gang, which also put an entire community on Long Island in danger,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, remains committed to dismantling all gangs on the streets of Long Island.”
“In the midst of the Outlaws’ declared war on a rival gang, Merchant shot and killed his victim and, at the same time, put the lives of innocent people in danger,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “With today’s sentence, Merchant is held accountable for his crime, and the people of Hempstead and surrounding Long Island communities can rest assured he will no longer be a threat to their collective safety.”
“Nassau County is no place for the illegal and dangerous actions of gang members, in particular, Pedro Merchant,” stated NCPD Commissioner Ryder. “This defendant has placed innocent residents in harm’s way during the murder of a rival gang member. Today’s sentence should send a stern message that the collaborative efforts of law enforcement will prevail to keep our communities safe.”
On September 11, 2013, Merchant and fellow Outlaws gang members confronted Quinones on Dartmouth Street in Hempstead, to determine where Quinones’ allegiance lay between the Outlaws gang and their rivals, the Bloods. During the confrontation, Merchant pulled out a handgun and shot Quinones several times at close range, killing him.
In the wake of Quinones’ murder, a yearlong violent gang war with numerous shootings ensued between the Outlaws and the Bloods in Hempstead. Merchant was tried and acquitted of murdering Quinones in 2015 in a Nassau County trial marked by witness intimidation by Merchant’s associates. Following the acquittal, Merchant and six additional members and associates of the Outlaws and six members of the Bloods were charged federally in this district for their participation in the violent gang war. To date, the following individuals have been sentenced or pleaded guilty:
- Everett Brown, an associate of the Outlaws, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment following his guilty plea to discharging a firearm during a crime of violence for his role in one of three shootings of rivals’ homes committed by the gang on August 19, 2014.
- Philip Saunders, a member of the Bloods, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment following his guilty plea to discharging a firearm during a crime of violence for his role in a May 9, 2014 assault of a rival gang member.
- Khalil Brown and Naree Barnes, members of the Bloods, were each sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment following their guilty pleas to discharging firearms during a crime of violence for shooting at a rival gang member on October 21, 2014.
- Billy McLen, a member of the Bloods, pled guilty to attempted murder in-aid-of racketeering and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and is awaiting sentence. When sentenced, McLen faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life.
- Alton Gore, also known as “A-Murder,” a leader of the Outlaws in Hempstead, pled guilty to assault in-aid-of racketeering and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and is awaiting sentence. When sentenced, Gore faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life.
- Jonathan Mayzick, a member of the Bloods charged with racketeering, conspiracy to murder and assault rival gang members with dangerous weapons and attempted murder and attempted assault with dangerous weapons, is awaiting trial.
The government’s case against Merchant is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole Boeckmann, Christopher Caffarone and Michael Maffei are in charge of the prosecution.
PEDRO MERCHANT (also known as “Dro”)
Valley Stream, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-322 (S-1) (JFB)