A band of robbers face federal charges for ambushing an upstate pot seller in a Brooklyn Airbnb, fatally shooting the dealer as the thieves tried to grab hockey bags full of weed, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn announced Wednesday they’ve indicted a half-dozen suspects in connection with the Dec. 3, 2021, robbery turned bloodbath in Brighton Beach.
The victim, Gregory Baratta, 46, of Poughkeepsie, and his nephew Jonathan Zephir rented an Airbnb on Brighton 4th Court near Ocean Parkway the night before the shooting, expecting to make a wholesale marijuana sale.
Just after midnight, Zephir and two more men arrived with four large duffel bags of marijuana, worth at least $500,000, prosecutors said.
But their buyers turned out to be part of a crew that’s targeted drug dealers in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island, according to court filings; just after 2:15 a.m., the rental home became the scene of a shootout.
The gunfire left Baratta mortally wounded , and his nephew hit in the leg.
“Knowing the people responsible will be brought to justice will give a little closure but the hole left in our lives will last forever,” Baratta’s sister, Corinne Baratta, told the Daily News Wednesday. “Our lives are forever changed.
Two of the robbers, Marcus Ricketts, 45, and Mark Goulbourne, 48, fled with their guns, but a third, Romeo Jonas, 34, was shot in the stomach.
Ricketts hopped on a Citibike, propping one of the duffel bags on the handlebars as pedaled off, prosecutors said. Goulbourne, meanwhile, called his brother, Jonathan Goulbourne, 43, who showed up with a car to escape.
Cops found Baratta’s body in the Airbnb, along with two guns, 15 shell casings, a money counting machine, a vacuum sealing machine, a bag containing real and counterfeit U.S. currency and a duffel bag with vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana inside.
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Nearby, police found two more guns and two large duffel bags with about 140 pounds of marijuana. The fourth duffel bag was never found, prosecutors said.
Baratta’s sister remembered him as a devoted family man.
“Gregory was a loving son, a loving brother to his brother and sister, a husband, a father, to three beautiful daughters, a grandfather to a beautiful little girl, an uncle, and he had several aunts, uncles and cousins, all who loved him dearly,” she said.
“He was everyone’s friend and everyone who knew him loved him. He had a heart of gold and always (lent) a loving hand to those in need. He had a soft spot in his heart to those less fortunate.”
Authorities arrested Jonathan Goulbourne, Ricketts and Baratta’s nephew in February.
Two more suspects, Chevonne Williams, 43, and Amari Webber, 31, were arrested Tuesday in Georgia for their role in the heist, while another, Juvanie Crossgill, 27, was charged on June 15.
Mark Goulbourne remains on the loose.