Defendants Held Victim Captive, Burning His Arms with an Iron to Obtain Drugs and Cash
Earlier today, following six days of trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn returned guilty verdicts against Michael Crumble and Ramell Markus on charges of kidnapping conspiracy, kidnapping and committing physical violence in furtherance of an extortion. The charges are contained in an indictment arising from an abduction, assault and extortion committed by the defendants on December 18, 2017. When sentenced by United States District Judge Allyne R. Ross, the defendants face a maximum of life imprisonment.
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 James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the verdict.
“As the jury found, Crumble and Markus abducted the victim and took him to a location in Brooklyn that became a torture chamber, where he was beaten and burned with a hot iron in an attempt to extract drugs, money and information to settle a drug dispute,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The defendants will now be held responsible for their ruthless conduct. I commend our partners in the New York City Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of agents of the FBI and detectives from the NYPD, for their outstanding investigative work.”
The evidence presented at trial established that Crumble, Markus, and a co-conspirator kidnapped the victim outside his home in Queens, forcing him into a vehicle. Markus pistol-whipped the victim, seeking a package of narcotics believed to be in his home. The defendants and the co-conspirator drove the victim to a residence in Brooklyn, and demanded that he give them narcotics, money, and the address of a location that the perpetrators believed contained additional money, as well as jewelry. To force the victim to comply, Markus broke a glass on his face, and the co-conspirator repeatedly burned both of the victim’s arms with a hot clothing iron. After the victim’s fiancée provided the defendants with money and drugs, the defendants and the co-conspirator transported the victim to a hotel in Brooklyn where he was held captive while the defendants waited for another individual to provide the address they were seeking. The defendants held the victim captive for more than eight hours.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Keith D. Edelman and Lindsay K. Gerdes are in charge of the prosecution.
Residence: Brooklyn, New York,
RAMELL MARKUS (also known as “Rah,” “Dollah” and “Smooth”)
Residence: Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-32 (ARR)