Final defendant pleads guilty to RICO conspiracy and gun charge on eve of schedule trial
Buffalo, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that 10th Street Gang member Tony Peebles, 27, of Buffalo, N.Y., pleaded guilty to Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charges carry a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, a $250,000 fine or both.
“For the past several years, this office has been relentless in its pursuit of violent gang members and narcotics traffickers,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “The results speak for themselves with more than a hundred fifty predators behind bars, dozens of violent crimes solved and ever declining violent crime rates across the District. Let today's developments and likely sentence be heard loud and clear by any remaining gang members- your days are numbered.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant participated in seven shootings during which eight victims were struck by bullets, some suffering life threatening injuries. Between 2000 and 2010, Peebles was a member of the 10th Street Gang. As a part of their involvement in the gang, the defendants, along with other members and associates of the gang, committed violence, possessed firearms, and sold marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, and other controlled substances on the West Side of Buffalo. The violent acts by members of the 10th Street Gang included two murders.
The defendant is among 44 10th Street Gang members and associates charged in this case. A total of 38 have been convicted. Charges are pending against the six remaining defendants. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Michael Cerretto, the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Frank Christiano.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 30, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.