NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “I think it’s a setback for public safety in the city of New Orleans today,” said Rafael Goyeneche.
After Criminal Court Judge Darryl Derbigny gave four alleged members of the D-Block Gang significant bond reductions, Goyeneche, of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, called it disturbing.
“This is not just some street-level individual drug dealers. This is an association. This is a gang, and their enterprise is selling drugs,” Goyeneche said.
“These are very violent criminals who have been afforded an opportunity to make bond on some very serious charges. I think quite frankly this is a slap in the face to law enforcement,” District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said.
Nine alleged members of the D-Block gang were indicted in May and then faced additional charges in a superseding indictment a month later. They’re accused of operating in the 2500 and 2600 blocks of Dumaine Street, terrorizing the people who live there.
“The brazen nature of this case was the defendants that just had their bail reduced while they were in jail on this charge, the prosecution has phone recorded tapes of them instructing and furthering their drug trade from jail while they’re in custody right now,” Goyeneche said.
Investigators told FOX 8 that Glynn McCormick and Lawrence Conway are considered the ring leaders of the D-Block gang.
Judge Derbigny reduced bond for McCormick and Conway from $1 million to $150,000.
“The judge just made it easier for them to get out of jail today,” Goyeneche said.
Both have lengthy criminal histories.
“When each was arrested, they found significant amounts of heroin, guns and cash on each of these individuals," Cannizzaro said.
Judge Derbigny also reduced the bonds of accused gang members Brian Lott and Wayman Williams from $500,000 to $75,000.
“The police department did an outstanding job, in my opinion, in this investigation. We have to look to the Criminal Court. We have to look to some of the judges, because they empower the criminal to go back out on the streets and commit these sort of crimes,” Cannizzaro said.
“The judge just made it cheaper to do business for this gang,” Goyeneche said.
Goyeneche believes it’s only a matter of time before the other five gang suspects in the indictment file motions to have their bonds reduced as well.
“It’s not a question of if, it’s just how soon their attorneys file a motion to have their bonds reduced to get their clients back on the street so they can continue to terrorize the neighborhood that they’ve been terrorizing for way too long,” Goyeneche said.
We reached out to the Criminal District Court for a comment, but we have not heard back.