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Fugitive suspected in shooting of NYPD officer caught in Hudson

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    Police enter a home at 227 Columbia St., Hudson. Contributed photo
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    Crack cocaine police say was found at 227 Columbia St., Hudson. Contributed photo
May 13, 2019 04:21 pm

HUDSON — A suspect in the shooting of an off-duty New York City police officer was arrested in Hudson with the help of city police, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Leon “Smoove” Smalls, 23, of the Bronx, a suspected member of a Bronx drug gang, was arrested Friday by local police and federal agents.

Smalls was charged with attempted murder in aid of racketeering and using or carrying a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in which the firearm was discharged, under the U.S. Code.

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the first charge and a maximum of life in prison on the second, if convicted.

Smalls and four other suspected members of the Jack Boyz gang shot at rivals Oct. 30, 2018 near East 137th Street and Brown Place in the Bronx, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. An off-duty NYPD officer, who was not identified, was allegedly caught in the crossfire and hit in the chest by a bullet.

The officer survived the incident.

Four other members of the gang were charged in March with attempted murder and racketeering, but Smalls remained at large for several months.

“As alleged in the indictment, this gang committed a brazen act of violence, and one of New York City’s finest was struck by their gunfire,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “Thanks to the extraordinary work of the NYPD, these defendants will now face justice in federal court.”

Members of the Jack Boyz are suspected of numerous acts of violence, including several shootings in and around the Bronx, according to officials.

“Members and associates of the Jack Boyz engage in violence to retaliate against rival gangs, to promote the standing and reputation of the Jack Boyz, and to protect the gang’s narcotics business,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement. “Members and associates of the Jack Boyz enrich themselves by committing robberies and selling drugs.”

The four other suspected alleged gang members charged in the crimes are Patrick Avila, Jalen Colds, Nazae Blanche and Donnell Jenkins, all 19, and all from the Bronx. They pleaded not guilty to the charges March 20, according to court documents.

Smalls, who has family in Hudson, was in the city Friday, Hudson police said.

They conducted a joint felony investigation with the U.S. Marshals Service and the New York-New Jersey Fugitive Felony Task Force to arrest Smalls, who was considered dangerous. The arrest drew dozens of U.S. Marshals to the city Friday.

Smalls was found early Friday morning at 227 Columbia St. and taken into custody without incident. He was turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service and he is expected to be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in federal court in Albany, according to court documents.

The Hudson Detectives Division obtained a search warrant for 227 Columbia St., where authorities recovered a quantity of crack cocaine and cash, according to police.

Trevor Warner, 24, of the Bronx, who was at the home, was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, a class B felony, criminal possession of a controlled substance narcotic, a class B felony, and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

He was arraigned late Friday afternoon.

Ian Crimmins, Warner’s attorney, said his client has no prior criminal history and asked for his client to be released on his own recognizance. Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka requested Warner be held without bail.

Hudson City Court Judge John Connor Jr. set bail at $35,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Czajka notified the court that he would give the case to a grand jury.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.