Louis Antonio Bryant
, the convicted leader of a dangerous Charlottesville
street gang will spend the rest of his life behind bars
A federal court judge sentenced Bryant to two life sentences and an additional ten years behind bars. Those life sentences will run together. Earlier this year, Bryant was found guilty of racketeering, drug conspiracy and running a continuing criminal enterprise.
“We’re happy with this jury and with this judge and we feel the community is much safer at this point than two years ago when these people were still on the street,” said Asst. U.S. Attorney Bill Gould.
Several other defendants involved in the West Side Crew's crime spree have also been convicted and sentenced but it was the leader of the gang, Bryant, who received the harshest sentence. His attorney says he will appeal.
Local Gang Members Are Off To Prison
August 12, 2006
By MATT STEWART
KES violent acts
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia identified these violent acts in recent years that it attributes to the KES gang
Feb. 18, 2000:
Near Northeast Georgia Medical Center, members of KES shot the leader of SUR-13, wounding him in the leg.
Aug. 19, 2000:
Members of the two gangs engaged in a fight which began with fists, but ended with the leader of KES, David Ramirez, pulling a pistol and firing at his opponent.
Nov. 11, 2000:
A group from KES and 18th Street hid behind Mount Calvary Church on E.E. Butler Parkway and fired on several members of SUR-13, who were standing in a common area of the Atlanta Street Apartments.
July 16, 2002:
Members of KES and SUR-13 fought at the Citgo Station across E.E. Butler Parkway from the Atlanta Street Apartments. When the proprietor called the police, the KES members fled. They struck a bystander, the sister of a SUR- 13 member, with their car. When they realized who the victim was, the driver of the car started to back over the victim, who was pulled to safety by a member of SUR-13.
May 10, 2003:
Members of KES encountered members of SUR-13. After exchanging insults, the two gangs agreed to fight. As KES members drove away they fired several shots at the SUR-13 members.
The sentencing of members of a Gainesville gang
Friday in federal court set a precedent in the war against gang violence in Northeast Georgia, prosecutors and law enforcement officials said.
A total of more than 40 years in prison was handed out to former members of the criminal street gang KES or "Killing Every Spot" by U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story
"The KES gang was a menace to Gainesville and the entire Hall County area," U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said. "We are proud to have worked with city, county and federal investigators to dismantle the gang and take its key members off the streets."
The investigation of KES and subsequent convictions Friday are believed to be the first time a single gang was targeted and dismantled by authorities, Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic said.
"This investigation took out most of the structure of KES," Cronic said. "One day, they had a heavy presence in Hall County and were one of our most troubling gangs at the time. The next day, we didn't have them here."
Five defendants pleaded guilty and were convicted in March on charges of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute, commonly called RICO. The complex law has gained notoriety recently for use in the prosecution of gang-related crimes.
The identified leader of KES, 25-year-old David Ramirez
, and his brother, Juan Ramirez, 28
, both of Gainesville, received the bulk of prison time after accepting plea agreements.
, who also was charged for discharging a firearm in the commission of a violent felony, received 12 years and nine months in federal prison
. David Ramirez was sentenced to 11 years and three months.
Carlos Alvarado-Castillo, 22
, of Gainesville was sentenced to five years and three months
; Adam Cruz, 24, of Gainesville received two years and nine months; and Rene Antonio Ortiz-Penado, 22, of Gainesville was sentenced to four years and nine months
A sixth codefendant, Ignacio Chavez-Olivarez, 42, of Gainesville was sentenced to four years and three months in prison after pleading guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute
. He was not charged with violation of the RICO statute.
Those convicted could face deportation upon their release from prison
, Story said. All six men will serve about 90 percent of their sentence in federal prison, Cronic said.
Each of the men charged faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but prosecutors took several of the defendants' ages into account when agreeing to a plea deal, Assistant U.S. Attorney H. Allen Moye said.
"One of the reasons the government agreed to what some would see as a fairly lenient (sentencing) is that, hopefully, these offenders will grow out of these acts of youth," Moye said. "They were kids at the time these crimes were committed. We want to make the point that this was a test run. Other gangs need to take note."
Michael Trost, David Ramirez's Atlanta-based attorney, spoke on behalf of his client prior to sentencing Friday.
"He has said he fully accepts responsibility for what he did," Trost told Story. "He was 17 at the time of this offense and was not as mature and as wise as he is now."
The government dismissed charges against a seventh defendant. An eighth, Ruben Bernal Cuevas, is a fugitive and is believed to be in Mexico, officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia have said.
During the three-year investigation by the Gainesville-Hall County Gang Task Force, agents seized several weapons believed to be used in violent altercations by KES gang members. The task force is comprised of Gainesville Police officers, Hall County Sheriff's deputies, and agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"This makes it clear that there are federal gang task forces and an aggressive U.S. attorney going after gangs," said Joe Amerling, a Gainesville-Hall County Gang Task Force member.
KES was formed in late 1998 by individuals who had been associated with the gang BSV. Remaining members of BSV formed a rival gang, SUR-13, and became engaged in territory warfare with KES and often defaced areas of the community with graffiti, authorities said
The two groups also fought each other either with fists or guns while threatening the safety of several neighborhoods between 2000 and 2003, authorities have said.
Family members and friends of the six men filled the federal courtroom Friday as federal agents marched the defendants in and out in handcuffs. Several of those in attendance cried as the the men left the courtroom to await a date to report to federal prison.
Story addressed the family members who came in support.
"I know it's difficult to see your loved ones taken out to face prison," he said as a translator spoke to those seated. "Their crimes caused a great deal of damage and they need to be punished. But family means a great deal to their success."
The majority of those sentenced Friday expressed remorse for their involvement in gang activity. Alvarado-Castillo told the court, "I apologize for the crime I commit, to the community and to my family."
Story asked most of the men he sentenced to serve as role models to young Hispanics and others who become involved in similar situations.
"There's still a lot you can accomplish in your life," Story told one of the defendants.
http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/st ... 6799.shtml
Bloods Gang Member Sentenced To 55 Years
August 11, 2006
– Superior Court Judge Marianne Espinosa sentenced a Bloods gang member to 55 years in prison for shooting two children and stabbing a teenager at Oakwood Plaza housing complex in Elizabeth
on April 8, 2005.
Khalil Patrick, 29
, defiantly told Espinosa that he did not get a fair trial, but the judge imposed parole ineligibility along with the 55-year sentence, so he must remain in prison for at least 47 years
Patrick was convicted in a June trial on 13 counts of aggravated assault in connection with a wild shooting and knife attack that injured two children, a 9-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl who were both shot in their legs, and a teenager who was stabbed with a knife.
“The community had enough of him
,” said police detective Thomas Koczur, who led the investigation. “When these children got hurt, the people said: That’s enough. He was cruel to people
. That’s what led to the quick arrest
Patrick once served prison time for weapons possession and aggravated assault for shooting his own mother
(convicted on April 7, 1995) but Assistant Prosecutor Robert O’Leary explained that attempted murder charges were dropped because the victim refused to cooperate. Family members claim that shooting was an accident that occurred while Patrick struggled with his step-father over a gun.
Patrick has also been convicted of distribution of drugs within 1,000 feet of a school zone and aggravated assault, Nov. 12, 1999; possession of drug paraphernalia, Dec. 14, 2004; riding in a stolen car, Jan. 6, 2006; and possession of cocaine and heroin, May 12, 2006.
According to prosecutor’s, the violence began with a fight involving Lorenzo Keets, 27, and Yvon Pyrus, 20, against 17-year-old Corey Williams and some of his friends.
According to Assistant Prosecutor Union County Deborah White, Keets and Pyrus told Patrick that Williams was moving in on the Bloods gang territory and he responded by hunting down Williams and slashing his face with a knife.
Later, just before 6 p.m. that evening, the 17-year-old’s uncle, Antoine Adams, exchanged gunfire with Patrick in the Oakwood courtyards, where the two young children were caught in the crossfire and injured
Fifty police officers converged on the scene and witnesses told authorities that Patrick was the shooter.
“The streets of Elizabeth will be safer for our children with him away from there,” said Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romanko.
http://www.new-jersey.ws/modules.php?na ... &sid=14333
Heroin Cartel Member Sentenced
SCOTT FROST, Staff Writer
-- "Operation Golden Triangle," the high profile 2004 shakedown of the city’s heroin trade, led to a 17-year prison term for one of its top players yesterday, officials said.
Bloods’ gangster Akeem Blue, 22
, of Kingsbury Square, Trenton, an alleged wholesaler for the heroin cartel toppled by the state-wide operation, pleaded guilty April 14 to possession of heroin with the intent to distribute after he was caught two years ago buying 8,950 decks of smack with $43,000 in cash, said Attorney General Zulima V. Farber.
At the time, police said "Operation Golden Triangle," put a major dent into Trenton’s drug trade while sinking a multi-million dollar industry.
Seventy-five percent of the heroin trade in Trenton, as well as a substantial portion of the statewide market, came from Blue’s gang-funded cartel.
Yesterday Farber said an estimated 20,000 doses were being distributed in the city at any given time before "Operation Golden Triangle" closed down the cartel in 2004.
It was Blue’s job, officials said, to sell to lower-level dealers working within the city limits.
Judge Maryann Bielamowicz yesterday sentenced Blue to 10 years in state prison with 43 months of parole ineligibility on a charge of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute filed by the Division of Criminal Justice.
He was also sentenced to seven-more years on charges filed in Mercer County, officials said.
While out on bail in March 2005, police chased Blue into Morrisville, Pa., and nabbed him with 160 packets of the drug, and $1,678 in cash.
A year-long covert joint-agency investigation, "Operation Golden Triangle," headed by the Division of Criminal Justice, resulted in 12 arrests in June 2004 and the confiscation of cash and cars.
It was the largest single seizure in the history of the division’s history, said then Attorney General Peter Harvey.
The operation damaged the drug network’s hierarchy, whose gang-controlled heroin was being shipped to Trenton on a weekly basis and was responsible for a substantial portion of the statewide heroin trafficking market, Harvey said.
Agents followed Robert "Marc" Cashwell on his way to meet up with Blue at the 7-Eleven on South Broad Street.
Officials said then it was Cashwell’s job to move heroin from an Elizabeth warehouse into Mercer County.
Around 1 a.m., Cashwell got off the New Jersey Turnpike and headed toward Trenton where he allegedly made a small drug drop before meeting Blue in the parking lot.
The two men got out of their cars and started talking casually, Lt. Bill Stranero of the Special Investigations Unit in the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said in 2004.
Within seconds 20 police ambushed the two men.
Blue was holding a Timberland shoe box
containing $42,918 in cash
and Cashwell, a black shopping bag with 179 bricks, or over 9,000 doses, of heroin
, police said.
The arrests of Cashwell, 34, and Blue triggered the planned, simultaneous execution of more arrests and search warrants that morning at 12 locations in Trenton, Newark, Irvington, East Orange, Elizabeth and Philadelphia.
More than 60 investigators and detectives from 15 law enforcement agencies recovered drugs, weapons, cash and cars.
In total, the searches -- five of which took place in Trenton -- yielded 300 bricks of heroin (with a street value of about $250,000), more than $271,000 in cash and more than $132,000 in bank assets, officials said.
Police also seized illegal weapons, including an Uzi submachine gun, a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, and .38, .45, and .40 caliber semi-automatic handguns and hollow-point bullets, along with late-model cars and motorcycles.
Twelve of the 17 alleged members of the heroin cartel had ties to the Bloods street gang, officials said in 2004.
Investigators believe that before the June 25 raids an estimated 20,000 doses of heroin were being distributed in Trenton during any given week.
At the time cops explained heroin is packaged in bricks, about the size of a deck of cards.
Each brick contains five bundles of 50 glassine bags, or doses and each dose at the time sold for about $12 on the street.
Meanwhile Cashwell pled guilty March 3 to first-degree distribution of heroin filed by the Division of Criminal Justice, officials said.
He was listed to be sentenced yesterday but the hearing was postponed for unexplained reasons.
Once sentenced Cashwell, of Elizabeth, faces 10 years of state prison time with 42 months of parole ineligibility, police said.
Officials said the cartel’s alleged kingpin, Charles "Black" Hamilton, 36, of Irvington, also fell to the operation.
He was charged with leading a narcotics trafficking network, criminal conspiracy, racketeering and the distribution of heroin.
http://www.trentonian.com/site/news.cfm ... 4551&rfi=6