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Rapper Casanova Charged With Racketeering In SDNY As Instagram Music Video Cited

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 3 – On the day Tekashi #6ix9ine co-defendant Kooda B was sentenced to 54 months in prison for arranging a shooting at Chief Keef, fellow rapper Caswell Senior or Casanova along with 17 others was charged with racketeering.  Inner City Press will also cover this case - now on December 3 the US memot, below.

Readers may remember that the Barclays Center shooting that #6ix9ine and his co-defendants were charged with involved or targeted Casanova. Inner City Press tweeted video here.

The US Attorney's Office annouced that the gang "committed terrible acts of violence, trafficked in narcotics, and even engaged in brazen fraud by exploiting benefits programs meant to provide assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Because of that, communities across the Southern District – from Poughkeepsie to Peekskill to New York City – suffered."   

Casanova is barely mentioned in the announcement, and is charged in the Complaint in Count 1, Racketeering, Count 13 (narcotics) and Count 14 (firearms).

  But on December 3, this went into the document, from the US Attorney: "Caswell Senior, a/k/a “Casanova” Senior is a rapper of some notoriety. Using his public platform, he has amplified the message of the gang—both through his music and his social media profiles. For example, he appeared on a gang anthem this summer, “Big Ape,” which has garnered over 1.8 million views on YouTube since June. 3

 In addition, he has used his Instagram page to pay homage to the gang, posting the below photos demonstrating his allegiance to Gorilla Stone:   2  Walker faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment on Count Fourteen due to his previous federal conviction in 2003 of violating 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). 3  Defendants Luster, Thomas, and Brinae Thornton, a/k/a “Luxury,” all appear in the video and—alongside defendant Reid—are mentioned in the song’s lyrics.

 Senior has closely coordinated his artistic endeavors to benefit the gang. For example, over recorded prison calls, the Government has learned that defendant Reid shares in some of Senior’s earnings. Senior has also relied on Gorilla Stone members for protection. In wire intercepts, defendant Luster is recorded admitting that Senior has called upon him to provide protection and firearms (“hammers”) while Senior was traveling across the country. Senior’s pending robbery charge—the underlying conduct for which was captured on high-quality surveillance video—in New York County Supreme Court provides a concrete example of how he has relied on the gang for acts of violence.

In clear surveillance video, taken from a diner in Manhattan in August 2018, Senior is seen lunging across a table for a victim’s cellphone. A scuffle ensues and eventually a fellow Gorilla Stone member, Bobby Williams, places the victim in a chokehold until the victim lost consciousness and is dropped to the floor.4  Senior has also personally committed acts of violence. In addition to his current open robbery charge, Senior has twice been convicted of Robbery in the First Degree.

In public interviews, he has admitted to stabbing inmates while incarcerated on those charges. And the Government has recovered photos from his iCloud account of several firearms, demonstrating his continued access to weapons. In addition to publicly promoting the gang and glorifying its activies, Senior is also a drug supplier for Gorilla Stone.

 Through direct Instagram messages and iMessages, obtained through search warrants, the Government has learned that Senior uses gang members, including both Naya Austin and Brandon Soto, a/k/a “Stacks,” to sell drugs throughout New York. Austin, as described above, and Soto, as described directly below, are two of the gang’s most violent members and prolific drug dealers. Senior faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and—because of his prior violent felony convictions—is a Career Offender under the Guidelines.

Senior is charged in the following counts:  Count One (Racketeering Conspiracy);
 Count Thirteen (Narcotics Conspiracy); and
Count Fourteen (Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Narcotics Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Same) Senior’s prior violent felonies, the fact that Senior’s gang activity has continued while on pretrial release for his open robbery case, his continued access to firearms, and his willingness to rely on the gang to provide protection—in some cases violently—are all factors that weigh heavily in favor of detention. 

FN 4  Bobby Williams was charged as a co-defendant with Senior in the robbery case in New York County Supreme Court. Williams pled guilty to Strangulation in the Second Degree in New York County Supreme Court and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. Senior is currently on pre-trial release in that case."

 There is a video circulating; some ask Inner City Press if it's normal and we responded with a Honduras narco-traffic Q&A we published, here. We'll have more on this.

 Given that Kooda B / Kintea McKinzie's music videos, with red bandanas, were used against him, Inner City Press wonders what may be cited in this case.

The case is US v. Reid, et al., 20-cr-626 (Halpern).


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