New charges for 20 Philly men in violent criminal conspiracy probe
Charges included the shooting of one victim, pouring boiling water on another, waterboarding and forcing victims to strip as the accused allegedly stole cash and illegal drugs.
Officials announced on Thursday an updated indictment against 20 men who were allegedly part of a Philadelphia crime ring that included armed robbery, kidnapping, carjacking and drug trafficking.
The new indictment added 13 additional charges and four defendants to the already large number of allegations related to a criminal conspiracy to commit armed robberies, usually of individuals thought to have drugs, according to U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger and ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Sam Rabadi. The acccused allegedly used disguises that included police uniforms, badges, bulletproof vests, masks and wigs.
"They were disguised, prepared, and organized," ATF acting special agent Kelly Brady told Philly.com.
Other charges included the shooting of one victim, pouring boiling water on another, waterboarding and forcing victims to strip as the accused stole cash and illegal drugs, authorities said.
In one scheme, the group targeted specific victims with GPS devices in order to rob them in their homes, officials alleged. Members of the group were also accused of holding a drug dealer’s girlfriend and a child at gunpoint as they demanded cocaine and cash from the victims.
In another incident, members of the group allegedly kidnapped a man and held him captive until his family paid a $50,000 ransom.
The defendants, all but one of whom live in Philadelphia, will each face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of all charges, according to officials.
Most of the defendants will face mandatory minimums of more than 30 years, Philly.com added.