Federal authorities have charged four brothers and three other men from Phila-
delphia on drug offenses for their alleged involvement in a PCP and crack cocaine
ring in the city, according to an indictment and criminal complaint unsealed
Two of the notorious Broaster brothers, Jerome, 38, and Cassius, 37 – the intended
targets of a 2004 shooting that took the life of a 10-year-old boy – were arrested by
FBI agents Thursday, along with younger brothers Elliott, 34, and Larkeem, 33.
Another defendant, Shannon Powell, 36, was also arrested, officials said. Nick Hig-
gens, 29, and Ronald Johnson, 26, remain at large, according to U.S. Attorney Zane
David Memeger and George Venizelos, the FBI special agent-in-charge in Philadel-
phia. Charges facing the seven men include allegedly conspiring to distribute 100
grams or more of PCP and 28 grams or more of crack cocaine, including within
1,000 feet of a public school, between August 2011 and October 2012, authorities
Jerome Broaster, Elliott Broaster, Johnson, and Powell face potential life sen-
tences if convicted. The other men would face maximum terms ranging from
40 to 80 years. A detention hearing was set for Tuesday for the defendants.
The FBI and Philadelphia police investigated the case. Former Philadelphia
Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson once called Jerome and Cassius
Broaster “the worst people in the city as far as violence is concerned.”
Authorities had long suspected the two were major players in the drug trade.
In 2003, they were acquitted in a triple murder committed on Feb. 23, 2002,
at a rowhouse at 2823 W. Huntingdon St. in North Philadelphia that was
operating as an after-hours bar. Police said Jerome and Cassius Broaster
entered the bar and released a barrage of bullets, killing three men. Five
others were injured. “They’ve been locked up many times, but they have
beaten the cases by intimidating witnesses,” Johnson said in 2002 after the
A year later, police said, the two brothers were the intended victims in a gun-
fight on Feb. 11, 2004, outside T.M. Peirce Elementary School, at 23d and
Cambria Streets, that killed 10-year-old Faheem Thomas-Childs.
The third-grade student was walking to school when he was shot in the head.
He died on Feb. 16. The Broaster brothers were not charged in that case, but
Kareem Johnson and Kennell Spady were convicted of first-degree murder
in 2006 and are serving life sentences for Faheem’s death.
Authorities said Johnson fired the bullet that hit Faheem.