Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that WILSON PAGAN, 27, the founder and top leader of the Latin Kings gang in Newburgh, New York (the Newburgh Latin Kings), was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains federal court to life plus 85 years in prison. PAGAN was convicted of murder; racketeering; conspiracy to distribute crack, cocaine, and heroin; assault; and using and carrying firearms in connection with violent crimes. PAGAN is one of 35 members and associates of the gang who were charged in the case, all of whom have been convicted, 28 of whom have thus far been sentenced.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Mr. Pagan was a gang leader, and what he led his followers to was a gang member’s life filled with death, blood, guns, drugs, and jail—and for him the gangster life in the street has become the inmate’s life in prison, forever. Gang leaders, members, associates, and wannabes in Newburgh and throughout the Hudson Valley need to understand—we will not tolerate gang violence. You will go to prison for it, potentially for the rest of your life.”
According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial:
PAGAN founded the Newburgh Latin Kings, and grew the gang from roughly a dozen members in 2008 to more than 50 members and associates by early 2010. On May 6, 2008, PAGAN ordered aspiring gang members to go on a so-called mission, during which they committed a drive-by shooting and killed, mistakenly, Jeffrey Zachary, a 15-year old boy who was an innocent bystander. PAGAN sold crack and heroin and helped other members and associates of his gang sell drugs, including at spots the Latin Kings controlled, such as the corner of Benkard Avenue and William Street in Newburgh. PAGAN also assaulted rivals of his gang and carried guns and instructed others to carry guns to protect PAGAN and the Newburgh Latin Kings’ drug turf. In leading the gang, PAGAN recruited and inducted new members, instructed the members how to behave in order to protect and conceal the gang’s criminal activities, and issued orders to gang members to shoot and assault others. PAGAN organized and led gang meetings for this purpose. During one such meeting, according to papers filed with the court, PAGAN told more than 20 assembled gang members: “[W]e don’t even live by rules of society... .”
Mr. Bharara thanked the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force for their work on the Latin Kings investigation. The Task Force is led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and combines the resources of dozens of law enforcement officers from federal, state, and local agencies and departments, including agents and officers of the FBI; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the City of Newburgh Police Department; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the Middletown Police Department; the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and the New York State Police.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Allee, Abigail Kurland, and Nicholas McQuaid are in charge of the prosecution.
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