A former NYPD officer is alleged to have provided confidential information to the Shooting Boys gang about a federal grand jury investigation, leaked the identity of a witness to gang members, and assisted a gang leader in fleeing from the U.S. after committing a murder.
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Ivan J. Arvelo, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Edward A. Caban, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the unsealing of the Indictment today charging Gina Mestre for her participation in a racketeering conspiracy with members of the Shooting Boys gang. Mestre was arrested last night and will be arraigned before U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, to whom the case is assigned, later this afternoon in Manhattan federal court.
As alleged in the Indictment and other documents filed in federal court and based on statements made in public court proceedings:
The Shooting Boys gang is a criminal organization based in the University Heights section of the Bronx. Since at least 2017, gang members sold drugs, used guns, and committed numerous acts of violence against members of rival gangs. The gang’s territory and base of operations fell within the jurisdiction of the NYPD’s 52nd Precinct. The recognized leader of the Shooting Boys was Andrew Done, a/k/a “Caballo.”
Mestre was an NYPD police officer from July 2013 to May 2022 assigned to the 52nd Precinct’s Public Safety Unit. In the summer of 2020, a major focus of the precinct and the Public Safety Unit was the reduction of gun violence, much of which was attributed to members of the Shooting Boys.
In or about June 2020, Mestre began communicating with Done through secret social media accounts and phone numbers. Mestre and Done began an intimate relationship, during which Mestre provided Done and other gang members with confidential non-public law enforcement information about the federal grand jury investigation into the Shooting Boys. For example, Mestre warned Done, and other gang members, that federal investigators were preparing to bring a federal indictment against the Shooting Boys. Mestre also warned Done about impending law enforcement operations, enabling Done and other gang members to conceal their criminal activity. In addition, Mestre disclosed the identity of a witness cooperating with law enforcement and providing information about the gang, which allowed Done and other Shooting Boys to assault and intimidate the witness in an effort to prevent the witness from further cooperation.
On or about November 5, 2020, Done shot and killed a rival gang member (Victim-1) as Victim-1 sat in his car on Cromwell Avenue in the Bronx. NYPD Detectives investigating the murder recovered security camera video (the Video) capturing Done’s commission of the murder. Several members of the 52nd Precinct were called upon to assist in the identification of the person captured on the Video. Mestre was one of several officers who identified Done as the perpetrator.
During the manhunt to apprehend Done, of which Mestre was a part, Mestre sent Done a copy of the Video to his phone and secretly communicated with Done the day of the murder and in the weeks afterwards. Mestre warned Done about law enforcement’s efforts to capture him, allowing Done to eventually flee from the United States.
In March 2022, 10 members of the Shooting Boys were charged in a 15-count indictment with various federal crimes, including racketeering conspiracy and murder. Done was charged with the murder of Victim-1 and was apprehended in the Dominican Republic several months later.
On November 17, 2022, Done pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy and admitted to his role in the murder of Victim-1. On February 22, 2023, Done was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Mestre, 33, of Mohegan Lake, New York, is charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of accessory after the fact to murder in aid of racketeering, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
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. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, Group 25; HSI; and the Special Agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dominic A. Gentile and James Ligtenberg are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, Gina Mestre shamelessly exploited her position of public trust to assist gang members in her own NYPD precinct that were terrorizing the Bronx by committing robberies, murders, drug trafficking, and other acts of violence. The Indictment unsealed today alleges that the defendant abused her position as an NYPD police officer by, among other things, obstructing a federal grand jury investigation into the gang and assisting the gang’s leader in evading capture for a cold-blooded murder committed in broad daylight. The defendant’s alleged conduct violates the oath she swore to protect the public – as well as her fellow NYPD officers – from the type of criminal activity she helped the gang commit. This Indictment makes clear that my Office and our law enforcement partners will remain vigilant in fighting all forms of police corruption.”
NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban said: “There is no place for corruption of any kind in the NYPD. The arrest today of a former police officer is built upon the steadfast work of our Internal Affairs Bureau, a team driven to root out such betrayals of public trust. I thank IAB, all of our partners, and everyone from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for their sustained collaboration in this important case.”