Fourth York-based gang member sentenced to life in prison

HARRISBURG — The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that United States District Court Judge Yvette Kane sentenced Maurice Atkinson, a/k/a “Mo,” age 30, a member of a gang that has operated for a decade or more in the City of York, to life imprisonment on February 12, 2018, for racketeering and drug distribution conspiracies.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Atkinson, who was identified as a member of the “Southside” street gang and the “Bloods,” was the fourth gang member from the “Southside” case that Judge Kane sentenced to life imprisonment.

At the sentencing hearing, the United States presented evidence of Atkinson’s involvement in the violent gang activity that was the subject of the two-month long trial and how Atkinson did not stop acting for the gang, even as he awaited sentencing.

Judge Kane also heard testimony from a cooperating Blood gang member, who was housed in Dauphin County Prison with Atkinson and other Blood/Southside gang members. The cooperating gang member testified that in September 2017, Atkinson and some of his fellow gang members suspected that he was an informant working with the police and suspected that he was disclosing how the gang was smuggling drugs and phones into the prison. On September 9, 2017, Atkinson and other gang members assaulted and repeatedly stabbed him in the back while he was in the prison shower. Video footage from the prison corroborated the attack.

The government noted that at the time of this prison assault, Atkinson was already facing a life sentence for being involved in the gang conspiracy. The government highlighted that evidence at trial included a video of a Southside gang melee with a rivals from “Parkway.” In the video footage, Atkinson can be seen repeatedly kicking, beating, and stomping a rival gang member.

Judge Kane noted that the violence associated with the gang was extraordinary. It included numerous killings, including the deaths of rival gang members, fellow gang members,
innocent bystanders, and children. Prior attempts by state officials had “failed” to reform him. Even with the prospect of a life sentence pending before him in this federal case, Atkinson continued with his violent gang activities. With this backdrop, Judge Kane said that there is “very little to suggest that [Atkinson] would turn his back on this life.” Judge Kane indicated that Atkinson’s “life sentence was well-earned.”

In November 2015, a jury convicted Atkinson of racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug trafficking after a seven-week trial. 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 also convicted the other 11 men who went to trial with Atkinson.

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.

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 sentenced:

Rolando Cruz, Jr., “Mico,” age 32; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, drug possession with intent to deliver and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking (2 counts) was sentenced on October 3, 2017, to life imprisonment;

Marc Hernandez, a/k/a “Marky D,” age 32; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, drug possession with intent to deliver and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking (2 counts) was sentenced on October 25, 2017, to life imprisonment;

Douglas Kelly, a/k/a “Killer,” age 39; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver was sentenced on December 12, 2017, to life imprisonment;

Roscoe Villega, a/k/a “P Shawn,” age 44; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver was sentenced on November 15, 2017, to 25 years’ imprisonment;

Eugene Rice, a/k/a “B Mor,” age 29; drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver was sentenced on December 7, 2017, to 200 months’ imprisonment;

Angel Schueg, a/k/a “Pocko,” age 28; drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver was sentenced on December 21, 2017, to 165 months’ imprisonment;

Richard Nolden, age 28; racketeering conspiracy was sentenced on December 21, 2017, to 25 years’ imprisonment;

Jalik Frederick, a/k/a “Murder Cat,” age 22; drug possession with intent to deliver was sentenced on June 5, 2017, to 33 months’ imprisonment;

Brandon Orr, a/k/a “B Or,” age 23; drug possession with intent to deliver was sentenced on November 10, 2016 to 34 months’ imprisonment;

Jabree Williams, a/k/a “Minute,” age 24; drug possession with intent to deliver was sentenced on May 15, 2017, to 60 months’ imprisonment.

The individual defendants and the charges on which they are awaiting sentencing:

Tyree Eatmon, a/k/a “Ree,” age 29; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver;

Anthony Sistrunk, a/k/a “Kanye,” age 29; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver.

Southside gang members who pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy prior to the trial are and who are awaiting sentencing are:

James Abney, a/k/a “Doocs,” age 31.

Malik Sturdivant, a/k/a “Base,” age 25.

Jahkeem Abney, a/k/a “Foo,” age 27.

Ronald Payton, a/k/a “Ron Ron,” age 25.

Cordaress Rogers, a/k/a “Tank,” age 31.

Marquis Williams, a/k/a “Quis,” age 29.

Jerrod Brown, a/k/a “Boogie,” age 28.

Quintez Hall, a/k/a “Q,” age 25.

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.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

Source: United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania