Seven members of a group alleged to have sewed violence in Mott Haven over the past three years face criminal charges for robbery, assault, conspiracy to acquire firearms, and for plotting to murder rival gang members,

The group called itself the Betances Gang because they were centered near the Betances Houses. 

According to a press release from the Office of the Bronx District Attorney,the charges stem from a joint investigation by the Bronx District Attorney and NYPD’s Gun Violence Suppression Division.

The defendants, Michael Columna, 20, Jhustin  Martinez, 18, Jeremy Delgado, 18, Raymond Corchado, 18, Adam Delarosa, 19 and Joshua Sampson, 17, all alleged Betances Gang members from the Bronx, were arrested various times during the years that the authorities were carrying out the investigation.

One defendant, Derek Centeno, 17, is still at large.

The charges were announced on Tuesday by Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and the NYPD.

According to the indictments, Centeno, Delgado and Martinez allegedly fired shots at a member of a rival gang, the YGz Gang, near the Patterson Houses in March 2019. The DA claims the shooting was in retaliation against the YGz gang.

A similar retaliatory attack occurred days later, when Columna and Martinez allegedly shot another YGz member in the head causing “life-altering injuries,” according to the DA.

A year later, in March 2020, Corchado, Delarosa and others shot at a rival gang member near the Mitchel Houses, according to the press release.

Other charges date back further. Martinez and Delarosa also stand accused of assaulting and robbing a woman on a subway platform on January 27th, 2019. Joshua Sampson is accused of firing a weapon in January 2019.

The Betance gang planned to acquire more firearms to defend their area of operations, the indictment states, adding that the gang members used coded language over telephone and social media to carry out the suspected plan.

Bronx DA Clark and NYPD Commissioner Shea said they hoped the arrests would help put a stop to the scourge of gun violence in the neighborhood.

“These alleged gang members fired guns on the streets of the  South Bronx, bringing fear to residents during a long period of violence. In one incident, the defendants severely wounded a young man. The shootings were retaliatory, and with these  charges we believe we ended a cycle of gunfire,” said Clark.

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