Last suspect in Schenectady street gang sweep pleads guilty
SCHENECTADY All 19 people indicted last year in federal court accused of involvement or connections to the Schenectady street gang Uptown/Gunners have now pleaded guilty to related crimes, the last one earlier this week, a federal prosecutor said.
The last to plead guilty was Andre Porter, Jr., 25, of Schenectady. He was charged with a drug conspiracy count, but not the main racketeering case against the accused gang members. With his plea, assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Hanlon confirmed, each of the cases has ended in convictions.
“It’s a good result,” Hanlon said.
The individuals were swept up in the federal indictment aimed at taking down the Central State Street-based gang.
The gang, authorities said at the time, was a direct rival to the Four Block gang taken down in its own federal indictment in 2011.
In all, 13 people were accused in the April 2012 indictment of direct membership in the Uptown/Gunners gang, and six others accused of the overall drug conspiracy.
The Uptown/Gunners was believed to have operated as far back as 2004, according to the indictments, with members selling drugs in the Central State Street neighborhood and protecting their territory through violence, even resorting to firing on rival gang members simply for passing through their territory.
Among those arrested and later pleading guilty was Kevin D. McGough, then 22, who is also serving 15 years in prison on weapons convictions in state court. He was accused in the indictment of twice directly exchanging gunfire with members of the Four Block gang in the summer of 2010.
Those two exchanges of gunfire were among a total of 39 “overt acts” prosecutors alleged in the indictments. Five total acts of shooting at rival gang members were alleged, as well as four robberies, four firearm sales and four gun possessions. The rest involved allegations of crack cocaine possession.
The longest sentence handed out was to Jamell Modest, 22, of Schenectady, who admitted to a racketeering count. He was sentenced just last week to a total of 15 years in federal prison.
McGough received seven years and nine months, a sentence to run at the same time as his own 15-year state court sentence.
Sentences handed out to the rest of the alleged gang members were: Antonio Sturdivant, 29, more than nine years; Walter Cobbs, 19, more than nine years; Roland Evans, 26, more than eight years; Marvin D. Hill, 27, more than nine years; Jabree Jones, 19, more than nine years; Larell A. Moody, 19, more than five years; Darius G. Smith, 29, more than seven years; and Qaraan West, 19, four years.
Kervon Blanchard, 18; Joseph M. Jarvis, 23; and Lameik Degroate, 20, have yet to be sentenced.
The ages listed here are as of the time of arrest.
Porter was among the six charged in the drug conspiracy, but not with membership in the gang. He admitted this week to helping distribute crack cocaine in Schenectady in 2011.
Porter now faces up to life in federal prison, but under wide-ranging federal sentencing guidelines, he could get much less prison time.
As part of the plea agreement, he can’t appeal any sentence less than 11 years, six months.