Almeen Palmer, 36, Quason Blake, 25, and Kelsey Smith, 26, all of Atlantic City, and Steven Armstead, 33, of Millville all plead guilty to racketeering on Friday. They also admitted to participating in the murder of Leroy Lindsay, Hoffman said.
Lindsay, 23, was fatally shot in the chest on Jan. 23, 2006, in a South 7th Street apartment in Vineland. Each defendant called the shooting an attempt to “discipline” Lindsay because he had shown disrespect to a member of the gang, Hoffman said.
“The murder of Leroy Lindsey, who was gunned down for disrespecting a member of the Nine Trey Gangsters, is typical of the senseless violence that was perpetrated by this set of the Bloods street gang in New Jersey,” Hoffman said. “As a result of Operation Nine Connect, we have sent over 40 members of this violent gang to state prison for lengthy sentences.”
The defendants were apprehended as part of “Operation Nine Connect,” a joint investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice, conducted in 2007. A total of 48 people were indicted, and all those indicted have now plead guilty to various crimes, Hoffman said.
“We will continue to partner with the New Jersey State Police and other agencies in wide-ranging investigations targeting the leadership and the most violent members of the criminal syndicates that are terrorizing many of our communities,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig said. “Through Operation Nine Connect, we have dismantled a vicious criminal syndicate.”
Sentencing for the four gang members is scheduled for Oct. 11.