Federal prosecutors build case against alleged leaders of Yonkers’ Cliff Street Gangsters

lohud.com on April 10, 2012 released the following:

“Written by
ERIK SHILLING

Nine reputed members of the Cliff Street Gangsters have admitted to conspiring to sell drugs and to violently keeping rivals at bay in the Nodine Hill section of Yonkers, as prosecutors continue to build their case against a chief enforcer of the group.

An indictment detailing some of the men’s activity was unsealed last August during a sweep of dozens of city gangsters. Since then guilty pleas for many of the reputed Cliff Street Gangsters members have trickled in. Prosecutors have now turned their focus to the gang’s leaders like 21-year-old Preston “Peanut” Hardy, who, as top gang enforcer, is accused of committing multiple shootings against rival gangs, authorities said. Few, if any, of the men connected to the Cliff Street Gangsters graduated from high school, but now seven — the youngest of whom is 18 — face up to life in prison when they are sentenced in U.S. District Court in White Plains later this year.

The latest guilty plea was Monday, when 26-year-old Gene “J-Biz” Thomas, pleaded guilty to two counts of drug charges. He faces up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced July 9.

At their plea hearings, some of the men spoke plainly of gang life.

“During the conspiracy, there was a time that I carried guns to protect the money I made,” Miguel “Corleone” Marquez, 26, said in January.

Another reputed gangster, Brandon “Big Boy” Williams, implied in his plea hearing that guns were a necessary part of the trade.

“At times, they would be threatening me so I one time had a gun and displayed it to one of these guys,” Williams said March 26, referring to rival gang members. Neither Williams nor Marquez completed high school. Both pleaded guilty pleaded guilty to drug and firearms charges, including conspiring to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana. They face up to life in prison at sentencing.

Prosecutors have said that Cliff Street Gangsters, known commonly as the CSG, operated for at least six years selling crack, marijuana, and other drugs and threatening rivals who encroached on their turf with guns that were stashed in secret locations known only to the gang’s members.

Other stashes, for the drugs themselves — like crack, which was packed in bags known as “twists” —were in members’ mouths, underwear and other locations, prosecutors said, including nearby mailboxes.

Competition for buyers of the twists led to numerous violent clashes with nearby gangs, including two based in the Schlobohm Housing Project, the Strip Boys and the Grimy M————, or GMF, according to prosecutors. A fourth gang, the Nodine Hill-based Elm Street Wolves, was CSG’s ally in many of the clashes, which went on for years and included a number of beatings and shootings.

“We went after the biggest folks we could find,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said last August, before another law enforcement official estimated that around 20 gangs operated in Yonkers.

Reputed Cliff Street Gangster Joshua Jenkins, who pleaded guilty March 29 to conspiracy and firearms charges, said that CSG moved more than 220 pounds of marijuana between 2005 and 2011. Among other things, Jenkins was accused of driving other gun-toting gang members around in his mother’s car.

“When I was doing all this, I knew that I was wrong,” Jenkins told Judge Cathy Seibel at his plea hearing, according to court records.

Some of the reputed gangsters who pleaded guilty included a few who admitted to having drug abuse problems themselves.

“I smoked weed, and I popped pills, and I drink,” said Michael “Mike-Mike” Glover, 21, adding that he spent time in treatment in 2008. Glover faces up a minimum 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to drug and firearms charges March 29.

He admitted then that he conspired to deal drugs from 2005 until his arrest in June 2011.

“Until I got caught,” he said.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment on trial strategy or whether the cases against three men who haven’t pleaded guilty — James “Tone” Glover, Audai “Buck” Howard, and Preston Hardy — were in negotiations with prosecutors.

But David Gordon, the lawyer for Hardy, said that he expected the case to go to trial. No dates have been set, but jury selection in the case could start later this month.

All the defendants remained in prison without bail Tuesday.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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