HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that members of a gang that has operated for a decade or more in the City of York were found guilty of participating in racketeering and drug distribution conspiracies by a jury in federal court in Harrisburg.
The seven and a half week trial before U.S. District Court Judge Yvette Kane began on September 24. It included over 100 witnesses called by the government, including York City Police officers and detectives, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI and gang members who had previously pleaded guilty and featured the presentation of over 500 exhibits. Among the exhibits were videos of violent incidents involving the Southside Gang, drugs, cash and property seized by police and ATF agents as part of the investigation.
The jury returned its verdict late yesterday after three days of deliberation. The jury convicted all 12 men.
According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, the gang, labeled by the government as a criminal enterprise, is known as Southside. It operated in southern York, centered in the area of Maple and Duke Streets. There was no formal structure but the participants included senior leaders, drug traffickers engaged in distribution and sales of narcotics, particularly crack cocaine, and “shooters,” individuals who committed acts of violence, including use of firearms on behalf of the gang and to protect its members from other gangs in York. Order was maintained through intimidation and threats and, in some cases, murder. The Southside Gang includes a group of violent drug traffickers, originally affiliated with the “Bloods,” primarily a New York-based national violent street gang.
Violence against a rival York gang, called “Parkway,” allegedly resulted in death or shootings of members of both gangs and innocent bystanders.
ATF, together with the York City Police Department and the York County District Attorney’s Office, began an intensive two year investigation of Southside in 2012. It culminated in a September 2014 grand jury indictment of 21 individuals.
Eight of the indicted persons, including James Abney, a senior Southside leader, pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy charge prior to the trial, as did seven other individuals included in the September 2014 indictment.
Many individual Southside gang members were investigated and previously prosecuted by York County law enforcement agencies on state charges. The federal prosecution aimed at dismantling the organization by exposing and attacking its continuity and leadership. The federal investigation of gang violence and drug dealing in York is continuing in full cooperation with local police and the York County District Attorney’s Office.
“The guilty verdicts returned by the jury send a message of justice. It is a message to criminals that gang activity and gun violence will be dealt with and will not be tolerated. It is a message to the residents of York County, that ATF and our law enforcement partners remain dedicated to serving the public, to reducing and preventing gun violence on our streets and in our neighborhoods," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Sam Rabadi.
The case included the participation and assistance of the Pennsylvania State Police, West York Borough Police Department, Spring Garden Township Police Department, the York County Drug Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael A. Consiglio, William Houser, and Joseph Terz prosecuted the case. U.S. Attorney Smith praised the diligent and highly professional work of the trial team.
Overall, the jury found seven of the 12 men on trial guilty of racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute drugs, mainly cocaine base (crack) and cocaine, but including heroin in some instances. Two others were found not guilty of the racketeering charge but were found guilty of the drug distribution conspiracy count of the indictment. Three of the defendants were found not guilty of either of the conspiracy counts. The jury found all 12 defendants guilty of possession of illegal drugs with the intent to distribute. Two defendants were also charged and found guilty of, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.
According to U.S. Attorney Smith, the principal defendants, specifically the most violent and those in leading roles, were found guilty of the racketeering conspiracy charges.
The individual defendants and the charges on which they were convicted are:
Marc Hernandez, a/k/a “Marky D,” age 30; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, drug possession with intent to deliver and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking (2 counts),
Rolando Cruz, a/k/a “Mico,” age 30; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, drug possession with intent to deliver and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking (2 counts),
Douglas Kelly, a/k/a “Killer,” age 37; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver,
Roscoe Villega, a/k/a “P Shawn,” age 41; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver,
Tyree Eatmon, a/k/a “Ree,” age 27; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver,
Maurice Atkinson, a/k/a “Mo,” age 28; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver,
Anthony Sistrunk, a/k/a “Kanye,” age 27; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver,
Eugene Rice, a/k/a “B Mor,” age 27; drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver,
Angel Schueg, a/k/a “Pocko,” age 26; drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver,
Jalik Frederick, a/k/a “Murder Cat,” age 22; drug possession with intent to deliver,
Brandon Orr, a/k/a “B Or,” age 23; drug possession with intent to deliver,
Jabree Williams, a/k/a “Minute,” age 24; drug possession with intent to deliver.
Southside gang members who pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy prior to the trial are:
James Abney, a/k/a “Doocs,” age 29.
Malik Sturdivant, a/k/a “Base,” age 23.
Jahkeem Abney, a/k/a “Foo,” age 25.
Ronald Payton, a/k/a “Ron Ron,” age 23.
Cordaress Rogers, a/k/a “Tank,” age 29.
Marquis Williams, a/k/a “Quis,” age 27.
Jerrod Brown, a/k/a “Boogie,” age 26.
Quintez Hall, a/k/a “Q,” age 23.
No sentencing date has been set for any of the defendants. All of the defendants are in custody.
Richard Nolden, a/k/a “Rich” age, 25, is currently awaiting trial after his case was severed from the others. He is currently serving a lengthy state court sentence.
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