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Press Release

Yonkers Gang Member Sentenced In White Plains Federal Court To Life In Prison For Racketeering, Murder, Conspiracy To Murder, Attempted Murder, Narcotics, And Firearms Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that STEVEN KNOWLES, 27, was sentenced on July 10, 2015, for various racketeering charges, murder, conspiracy to murder, attempted murder, narcotics conspiracy, and firearms charges.  KNOWLES was sentenced to life in prison plus 35 consecutive years arising out of his involvement, from 2000 through 2013, in the criminal activities of the Elm Street Wolves gang (the “Wolves”) – a violent street gang that was involved in drug trafficking and multiple acts of violence, including murder and attempted murder, in Yonkers, New York.  KNOWLES was convicted on July 1, 2013, after a four-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas, who imposed the sentence.  In imposing sentence, Judge Karas emphasized the seriousness of Knowles’s criminal conduct, which included over 20 shootings of rival gang members, and the impact of the terror caused by Knowles and the Wolves on the community of southwest Yonkers.

According to the Superseding Indictment and evidence admitted at trial:

From 2000 through 2013, KNOWLES was a member, and then leader, of a racketeering enterprise – the Elm Street Wolves.  As part of his participation in that enterprise, KNOWLES conspired to murder a member of a rival gang, the Strip Boyz, which culminated in the violent murder, by KNOWLES and others, of Christopher Cokley on July 4, 2009.  KNOWLES also participated in a number of other gang-related shootings, including the October 14, 2007, attempted murder of Tremaine Garrison, a/k/a “Triggermain,” also a member of the Strip Boyz.  KNOWLES also participated in more than a decade-long conspiracy to distribute kilograms of crack cocaine within a several block radius of Elm Street and Oak Street in Southwest Yonkers, New York.  The evidence at trial also showed that KNOWLES and other members of the Wolves possessed, brandished, and discharged a number of firearms in connection with their drug trafficking and racketeering activities with the Elm Street Wolves gang.

KNOWLES was convicted of one count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to murder in aid of racketeering, one count of murder in aid of racketeering, one count of conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute 280 grams and more of crack cocaine, two counts of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence or a drug-trafficking crime, and one count of discharging a firearm in connection with the murder of Christopher Cokley on July 4, 2009.

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Since 2011, as part of the “Yonkers Gang Initiative,” this Office has charged over 150 members and associates of Yonkers street gangs, including 48 members and associates of the Elm Street Wolves.

Mr. BHARARA praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the Yonkers Police Department.  He also thanked the Westchester County Department of Public Safety and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the case.  He added that the investigation into Yonkers gang activity is continuing.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit and the White Plains Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Bauer and Jessica Ortiz are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated July 15, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-180