After I returned, held my FBI credentials with the title “Supervisory Senior Resident Agent” in front of his face, and settled back into my seat across the table from him, “00” leaned forward in his chair and paused…
“Why do I gotta be chained to this wall?” he inquired. “Is there a rule or something?”
“Nope,” I asserted. “Generally speaking, folks who are arrested with an illegal handgun and who fight the police officers attempting to apprehend them are restrained for their safety and the interviewing officer’s. I’m happy to have the cuffs removed. All depends on whether you can remain a gentleman or not.”
“Where the fuck am I going?” he snapped. “You got like six cops right outside the door. I wouldn’t get far. Besides, why would I want to catch another case? I ain’t making this worse.”
“Cool,” I stated, and then motioned to the set of eyes monitoring us from the other side of the glass. A detective immediately entered and I asked for “00” to be uncuffed. The detective unshackled Boykin and then exited the room.
“So,” I began, “you do realize you’re in a boatload of trouble, right?”
He slowly stroked his chin, stubbed out the cigarette he’d been slowly dragging on, and clasped his hands together atop the desk, leaning in closer to me: “Look, I know for the Feds to be here, well, you guys are trying to take this shit to a whole ‘nother level. I ain’t stupid. But what do you have on me? Nothing. Other than what happened tonight. And I ain’t worried too much about that shit. Nobody stays in jail forever in Newburgh. You know if you had some shit on me, I’d have already been arrested long time ago. You got nothin’.”
And then he smirked and leaned back in his chair satisfied that he was consolidating power again, as befitting the leader of a powerful street gang.
Except that what came next abruptly wrenched the power out of Anthony Boykin’s hands for the foreseeable future.
“Anthony, you’re going away for a long time. I don’t know if you’ll ever see the outside of a prison again,” I flatly stated, allowing the words to hang in the air, as I stared directly into his eyes.
He suddenly sputtered, “You think some chicken-shit gun case is going to keep me away for long? Come on, man. And first of all, I’ve done time, so I ain’t afraid of no jail cell. And if I need to get a lawyer and plead something out, well, I’ll do what I gotta do. But I ain’t going away forever.”
“Again, Anthony, I’m not here to discuss tonight’s case with you. There’ll be plenty of time for you to be interviewed on that later tonight. Remember, you don’t have to talk to us, and you can stop anytime you choose to. And if you decide you want an attorney, we can arrange for that forthwith. I’m just figuring you probably have questions about why the Feds are here. Well, the problems you’re facing are much larger than just getting popped with a handgun. I want you to think long and hard about the decision you’re going to have to make tonight. That decision will unalterably affect the rest of your life.”
“As the leader of the largest and most powerful street gang in Newburgh, you know we’re going to ultimately bring the Kingpin Statute down on your ass. All those young kids you have out there hustling for YOUR benefit, the ones you make false promises of riches and glory to if they choose to become a BLOOD, well, you really think they’ll remain loyal to you when they’re facing ten or twenty years on narcotic conspiracy charges? They’re gonna snitch, Anthony. That’s what frightened young first-time offenders do.”
“00” shifted nervously in his seat, his eyes twitched a bit, and I suddenly knew I had his undivided attention. The thin veneer of cool detachment was nothing but a facade. This I knew from years of witnessing the meltdowns amidst a Come-to-Jesus moment for scores of “tough guys” on their day of reckoning. “00” was no different than any of the others. Much of their control over others was related to their talents at hiding their insecurities. And much of armor, if you will, was the appearance of invincibility they exuded. Boykin’s armor was beginning to shed itself. I watched his face switch was haughty bemusement to perplexed concern. So I decided to apply the coups de grâce:
“Some of them are already talking, Anthony. What they’re telling us aligns perfectly with what we already know from years of tracking you. I promise you this, before this is all said and done, we won’t just be hanging a Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute and a federal Felon in Possession of a Handgun rap around your neck. I’m gonna make sure the men you murdered or ordered to be murdered have a voice. I’ve assembled a team comprised of the best of the best — cops, detectives, agents, troopers, and federal prosecutors. And you’re our “public enemy number one.”
He smiled at the 1930’s era John Dillinger reference. Not for a second did I think the reference over this gangster’s head. I’d heard from countless cooperators and BLOODS associates that “00” was well-read and exceedingly intuitive for a “street guy.” And five minutes into tonight’s verbal sparring, I knew I’d have to work in order to maintain the upper hand. Anthony “00” Boykin was a lot of things; but unintelligent wasn’t one of them.
“Well, ” he slowly started, “I ain’t copping to anything tonight, and I ain’t even saying I’m a BLOOD…or even know what one is.” He paused, awaiting my reaction…
“Well,” I allowed, “I’m fairly certain we can stipulate to your membership, your lofty position within the enterprise, and many of the predicate offenses you and your rabble have wreaked on Newburgh the past few years. But, let’s sort ALL of that out at another time and place. For now, recognize that your usefulness as a cooperator and how a judge would view the timeliness of your acceptance of responsibility, all have a very, very … short … shelf life. Something to consider.”
He nodded, rolled his head back, and leaned dangerously past the imaginary fulcrum his chair assumed whilst on two legs. He rocked back forward, slammed both fists on the table and blurted, “Well, you know I ain’t no snitch. And I ain’t entirely convinced that all this shit that you claim you may or may not have on me is for real. I’m gonna take my chances in court. No disrespect intended, Agent Gagliano, but I’ve always been a gambler.”
(continued on next page)