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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



FEBRUARY 9, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


GANG LEADER SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON

FOR MURDERS, DRUG TRAFFICKING,

FIREARMS VIOLATIONS


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Bradley J. Schlozman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the former leader of the 51st Street Crips was sentenced in federal court today for committing three murders, as well as a drug trafficking conspiracy that included additional shootings and narcotics violations.


            Steve L. “Moody” Wright, 23, of Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan this morning to life in federal prison without parole, followed by 110 years in federal prison without parole. Today’s sentence includes two life sentences plus 170 years in prison that will be served concurrently, followed by 110 years that will be served consecutive to the life sentence.


            “This is a vicious, cowardly serial killer who attacked his victims by sneaking up on them or shooting them in the back,” Schlozman said. “At a shockingly young age, he led a drug-trafficking street gang whose wave of violent crime terrorized their neighborhood. Today’s sentence guarantees that he will never again be a menace to our community.”


            On Sept. 7, 2006, Wright was convicted by a federal jury on 15 counts contained in a July 2, 2004, federal indictment. In addition to three convictions for murder, the court today confirmed that sufficient evidence was presented during the trial to link Wright to two additional murders committed in the course of the drug-trafficking conspiracy for which he was convicted.


            Wright and other members of the street gang known as the 51st Street Crips repeatedly engaged in illegal drug trafficking and possessed firearms that were used to protect their drug supplies and the profits of their drug sales. Wright was 17 years old when he murdered both Hector Santos and Michael Birks, and 18 years old when he murdered Alex Clark.


            Wright and other gang members engaged in turf wars with rival groups over areas in which drugs were illegally sold. Wright robbed other drug dealers – often shooting to kill – to steal their supply of drugs, then sell them for profit. Wright and other gang members also stole vehicles, not only for transportation but to avoid identification and detection while involved in criminal activities.


MURDER


            Wright was found guilty of three separate counts of using a firearm to murder three victims – twice in relation to a drug-trafficking crime, and once to prevent a victim from providing information to law enforcement authorities.


            On June 14, 2000, Wright fatally shot Hector Santos during the attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.


            On June 29, 2001, Wright fatally shot Alex Clark during the conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.


            On Feb. 1, 2001, Wright, aiding and abetting two co-conspirators, killed Michael Birks with the intent to prevent Birks from providing information to law enforcement authorities about the commission of several offenses – including attempted possession with intent to distribute PCP, and the shootings of Anthony Conaway and Justin Hill.


DRUG TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY


            Wright was found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, PCP and valium from Jan. 1, 1997, to Oct. 8, 2003. Wright (along with co-conspirators) shot and wounded other persons in furtherance of that drug-trafficking conspiracy.


            On June 13, 2000, Wright and others shot at Alex Clark and Roland Jordan at the intersection of 33rd and Chestnut in Kansas City. On July 18, 2000, Wright shot and wounded Thomas Simmons, an associate of a rival street gang. In an effort to silence Marlon Brown as a potential witness against them in the shootings of Anthony Conaway and Justin Hill and in the murder of Michael Birks, a co-conspirator of Wright’s shot and wounded Brown and two companions. On April 8, 2001, Wright shot and wounded Kyle Williams near the Loma Vista Bowling Alley at 8756 Blue Ridge in Kansas City.


USE OF A FIREARM IN A DRUG-TRAFFICKING OFFENSE


            Wright was found guilty of two narcotics violations as well as two additional related counts of shooting and wounding other persons in the commission of a drug trafficking crime.


            Wright was found guilty of attempting to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of PCP on Feb. 1, 2001. Wright was also found guilty of shooting and wounding Anthony Conaway and Justin Hill during the commission of this drug-trafficking crime.


            Wright was found guilty of being in possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine on April 2, 2001. Wright was also found guilty of shooting and wounding Reymundo Gonzalez during the commission of this drug-trafficking crime.


ADDITIONAL NARCOTICS OFFENSES


            Wright was found guilty of five additional counts related to illegal drug possession or distribution.


            Wright was found guilty of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute on two separate occasions on March 1, 2000, and Oct. 3, 2001.


            Wright was found guilty of attempting to possess, with intent to distribute, more than 500 grams of cocaine on June 14, 2000.


            Wright was found guilty of being in possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of crack cocaine on Oct. 3, 2001.


            Wright was found guilty of being in possession with intent to distribute ecstasy on Oct. 3, 2001.


FIREARMS


            Wright was found guilty of being in possession of firearms during the commission of several drug-trafficking offenses, including possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of ecstasy with intent to distribute, all on Oct. 3, 2001.


FORFEITURE


            Wright was also convicted on the forfeiture count, which requires him to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the violations, including $33,350.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles E. Ambrose, Jr., and David Ketchmark. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html