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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 26, 2013

10th street gang member pleads guilty to racketeering charge

         BUFFALO, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Sam Thurmond, 25, of Buffalo, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, to federal Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Conspiracy (RICO Conspiracy) before U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.
           
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi, who is handling the case, stated that between 2000 and 2011, Thurmond was a member of the 10th Street Gang. As a part of his  involvement in the gang, the defendant participated in the murders of Brandon MacDonald and Darinell Young who were shot and killed on April 17, 2006.

            On April 16, 2006, rival 7th Street Gang members were believed to have shot a 10th Street Gang member. In response, Thurmond and other 10th Street Gang members planned to retaliate. On April 17, the defendant and others obtained firearms including several shotguns, a .22 caliber rifle, a .22 caliber handgun, a .44 caliber handgun, and a .380 caliber handgun. The defendant and other 10th Street Gang members and associates then went to the area around 155 Pennsylvania Street where they believed rival 7th Street Gang members involved in the shooting were located. The 10th Street Gang members and associates, including Thurmond, began shooting at the individuals sitting on the porch, and standing near 155 Pennsylvania Street. Brandon MacDonald and Darinell Young, who were not members of the 7th Street Gang, were both shot, and both died as a result of injuries sustained during the shooting.

            Thurmond is the 25th 10th Street Gang member or associate who has been convicted in connection with the investigation.

            The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Investigators of the New York State Police under the direction of Major Michael Cerretto, the Buffalo Police Department under the direction of Commission Daniel Derenda, and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian P. Boetig.

           
Sentencing is scheduled for February 12, 2014, at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.