Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and William V. Grady, Dutchess County District Attorney, announced today that DAVONTE HAMILTON, a/k/a “Vont,” an alleged member of the “Uptown” street gang operating in Poughkeepsie, New York, was arrested in connection with the December 2012 murder of Daquelle LeBlanc. The defendant is charged in a Superseding Indictment with racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering activity, and a firearms offense. HAMILTON was arrested tooday and arraigned in White Plains federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith.
Twelve members and associates of the Uptown gang, and 19 members and associates of the rival Downtown gang, which also operates in Poughkeepsie, New York, were previously charged in separate Indictments – United States v. Douglas Owens et al., 17 Cr. 506 (NSR) and United States v. Ronald Johnson et al., 17 Cr. 505 (VLB) – in August 2017 with murders, attempted murders, racketeering, narcotics, and firearms offenses. The Superseding Indictment adds HAMILTON as the third defendant charged with murder in aid of racketeering activity and firearms offenses in connection with the 2012 murder of LeBlanc.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated: “As alleged, Devonte Hamilton aided and abetted the murder of Daquelle LeBlanc nearly six years ago. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to pursue justice for victims like Mr. Leblanc against all involved in such violent offenses.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “The work done on this investigation is a perfect example of how our law enforcement partnerships have a positive impact helping innocent people. Getting these alleged gang members, dealers, and murderers off the streets has made Poughkeepsie safer. The FBI Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force won’t let up on our pursuit of these alleged violent criminals until we stop their destructive hold on the community.”
Dutchess County District Attorney William V. Grady said: “I would like to compliment the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department and their law enforcement partners for their dedication in pursuing this important homicide investigation since 2012. Thanks to our additional partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office on this case, we have been able to charge those individuals we feel responsible for this homicide.”
According to the Superseding Indictment filed on July 18, 2018, in White Plains and Manhattan federal court and other documents in the public record:
The Superseding Indictment arose from a joint investigation by the FBI’s Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, and the Dutchess County Sherriff’s Office into a gang war between Uptown and Downtown, which led to multiple fatal and non-fatal shootings between 2012 and 2017 in the City of Poughkeepsie.
Uptown is a criminal organization whose members referred to themselves by, and were known by, several different names, including “Spready Gang,” the “400 Savages,” the “Boogotti Boys,” the “Young Bosses” or “YB’s,” and the “Mob Stars.” Uptown is based within the eastern portion of Poughkeepsie, from east of Hamilton Street to the city line and, more specifically, within the Hudson Gardens housing development (commonly referred to as the “Bricks”). Uptown gang members and associates control the narcotics trade within the Bricks, distributing heroin, crack cocaine, and marijuana primarily. Uptown gang members stored shared guns in various locations known to gang members to protect the narcotics business, to protect each other from rival gangs, and to strike against rival gangs.
In addition to many non-fatal acts of violence against rival gang members and innocent victims, the rivalry between Uptown and Downtown led to the murder of Downtown gang member Daquelle LeBlanc, a/k/a “Hamo,” who was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest at the age of 16 in the vicinity of Main Street, between Academy and North Hamilton Streets, on or about December 23, 2012. According to the allegations contained in the Superseding Indictment, HAMILTON and two other defendants – who were charged and arrested in connection with the August 2017 Indictments – murdered LeBlanc to enhance their position in Uptown and advance the criminal objectives of that organization.
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HAMILTON, a/k/a “Vont,” was in custody on state charges and was transferred to federal custody this morning. If convicted, HAMILTON faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy), a maximum sentence of life in prison on Count Three (Murder in Aid of Racketeering Activity), and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison on Count Five (Murder Through Use of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence). The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, the Dutchess County Drug Task Force, as well as the United States Marshals’ Service, the New York State Police, and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision for their assistance in today’s arrests. Mr. Berman also thanked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for their assistance in the investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher J. Clore, Maurene Comey, and Emily Deininger are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment, and the description of the Superseding Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.
2 DAVONTE HAMILTON was charged only in Counts One, Three, and Five of the thirteen-count Superseding Indictment. The other counts of the Superseding Indictment relate solely to other, previously arrested members of the Uptown gang