Philly gang members who ‘kidnapped’ and ‘robbed’ drug dealers shipped to prison

Bank Robbery Charges

United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Hasan Chaney, 30, of Philadelphia, PA was sentenced to 312 months’ imprisonment (26 years), and Braheim Ballard, 39 of Philadelphia, PA was sentenced to 155 months’ imprisonment (12 years, 9 months), both by U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg. Both defendants were members of an extremely violent criminal organization led by Khalil Smith, who was sentenced to life plus 207 years’ imprisonment in November 2018.

As part of the gang’s botched conspiracy, they planned to commit armed robberies and kidnappings of people who they believed were selling drugs.

Their goal was to steal drugs, drug proceeds, and other items of value, or obtain ransom for the release of their kidnapping victims.

Members of the conspiracy conducted surveillance of their victims and tracked their victims using GPS devices. They also used police scanners to monitor police radio during the commission of their crimes to evade detection and apprehension by law enforcement.

In October 2017, Chaney was found guilty at trial for his participation in one incident with this gang, the Mayfair Street kidnapping, and Ballard was found guilty at trial for his participation in one incident, the Leas Way home invasion robbery in Hatfield, PA.

Members of the organization, including Chaney and Ballard, also used firearms and/or brute physical force to facilitate the commission of the robberies, kidnappings and carjackings, specifically to threaten, intimidate, and subdue the victims. They also occasionally dressed as police officers as a means to fool their victims. They shot and threatened to shoot their victims and physically restrained them with handcuffs, zip ties, electrical cords, and shoelaces and held them captive, at times, for several hours. They even went so far as to “waterboard” and pour boiling water on the genitals of some of their victims, which is what occurred during the Mayfair Street kidnapping incident on the 700 block of Mayfair Street in Philadelphia.

“Motivated by their mutual desire for drugs, money, and power, Chaney and Ballard eagerly enlisted as members of this ruthless, violent gang,” U.S. Attorney McSwain told us. “This crew resorted to torture, extreme violence, intimidation, and even impersonation of law enforcement to dominate their victims and terrorize Philadelphia and the surrounding towns. Because of the dedicated work of prosecutors and law enforcement working this case for many years now, these two defendants will join the rest of their co-conspirators spending a long time where they belong – in prison. The facts of this case are an excellent example of why violent crime is an ever-present priority for my Office.”

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. The Department of Justice 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.

This case was investigated by the ATF, the Philadelphia Police Department and various other local police departments throughout the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Salvatore L. Astolfi and Jeanine Linehan.