The four defendants, who all plead guilty to first degree racketeering on Aug. 23, were sentenced as follows:
· Almeen Palmer, 36, of Atlantic City, was sentenced to 15 years in state prison;
· Steven Armstead, 33, of Millville, was sentenced to 12 years in state prison;
· Quason Blake, 25, of Atlantic City, was sentenced to 12 years in state prison; and
· Kelsey Smith, 26, of Atlantic City, was sentenced to 10 years in state prison.
They also pleaded guilty to participating in the murder of 23-year-old Leroy Lindsay, Hoffman said. Lindsay was shot in the chest on Jan. 23, 2006 while in an apartment on South 7th Street in Vineland.
They all admitted to taking part in an effort to discipline Lindsay for showing disrespect to a gang member, and that discipline resulted in Lindsay’s death, Hoffman said.
“We have secured lengthy prison sentences for 48 members of this violent gang as a result of Operation Nine Connect, including these four men, who admitted they gunned down Leroy Lindsay for the simple reason that he showed disrespect to one of the Nine Trey Gangsters,” Hoffman said in a prepared statement. “By taking these vicious criminals off the street, we are making our communities safer.”
They were charged as part of “Operation Nine Connect,” conducted by the State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice.
“The Nine Trey Gangsters were an especially dangerous gang because of their propensity to use guns to defend their drug turf, retaliate against rival gang members, and enforce internal discipline,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig said. “Working with the New Jersey State Police and our other partners in Operation Nine Connect, we dismantled this violent gang from top to bottom.”