7 Staten Islanders, Bloods gang members, among those charged with extorting NYC fire mitigation companies

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Nine individuals — seven of them from Staten Island — are facing racketeering, conspiracy and extortion charges after they alleged worked together and used violence to take over a New York emergency mitigation services company, prosecutors say.

Jatiek Smith, 37, Sequan Jackson, 33, Anthony McGee, 32, Damon Dore, 36, Hasim Smith, 29, Rahmiek Lacewell, 37, and Octavio Peralta, 42, all from Staten Island, face a combined maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted. Kaheen Small, 35, and Manuel Pereira, 38, of Brooklyn, were also named in the indictment.

The defendants, who include members of the Bloods street gang, took control of First Response Cleaning Corp., a Brooklyn-based company which provides clean-up services to properties damaged by fire, according to U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.

“We are smoking out corruption and violence in the fire mitigation industry with today’s charges,’’ Williams said in a statement. “As alleged, the defendants used threats and violence to take over a company and then an industry.”

They used First Response as a vehicle to extort other participants in the fire mitigation industry and to assert control over the industry using violence and threats of violence, prosecutors allege.

Beginning in 2019, the defendants worked together to take control of First Response. Smith was the leader of the crew, according to the indictment.

Back in 2015, Smith pled guilty to drug and conspiracy charges following a sweeping probe into a drug-dealing operation based largely out of New Brighton. Smith was listed as the reputed gang leader of the “Tombstone Gangstas,” a Bloods-affiliated street crew.

Slaughterhouse (Tiek) Smith

In 2015, Jatiek (Tiek) Smith was convicted on drug distribution charges tied to local authorities’ “Operation Jersey Boys.” He also was identified as the leader of the Tombstone Gangster Soldiers.

Peralta, in the scheme, acted as a “public adjuster” who participated in the group’s efforts to defraud and who helped solidify their control over the industry.

Collectively, they threatened to kill or shoot their victims and members of the victims’ families. Once in control, the group imposed a system of rules upon the EMS companies, including a strict rotation system in which the defendants dictated which companies got which losses, prosecutors said.

In addition, to extorting money, the group required other companies to pay them if they wished to continue to work without facing retaliation and risked being attacked.

To ensure victims followed the rules, the group resorted to physical violence, according to the indictment.

On some occasions, Video recordings of violence and attacks were sent throughout the industry in order to intimidate victims. The group also helped submit false insurance claims for damaged properties and threatened potential witnesses who were believed to be cooperating with the federal investigation into the group’s crimes.

“This indictment is a clear demonstration that those who use violence, force and threats of force to inflict harm on New Yorkers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell in a statement.

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