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What you need to know for 07/25/2017

Original Four Block member pleads guilty to federal charge

Original Four Block member pleads guilty to federal charge

Kwame Robinson pleaded guilty Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court in Utica to one count of conspiracy.

All but one of the 19 indicted members of Schenectady’s infamous Four Block Gang have now pleaded guilty to a variety of charges.

The only one who has not entered a plea has never been apprehended and is still being sought.

The last of the 18 to plead guilty was an original gang member, Kwame Robinson. Robinson pleaded guilty Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court in Utica to one count of conspiracy.

He faces up to 40 years in federal prison at his December sentencing, but he could get nine years or less. Anything over that number and he could appeal the sentence but not take back his plea. The final number is up to a judge.

Another alleged original gang member, Leon Robinson, pleaded guilty in July, also to a count of conspiracy. He also faces up to 40 years, but has the same appeal threshold as Kwame Robinson.

A third original gang member, Arsheen Montgomery, 20, pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced in June to four years in federal prison.

The only one of the 19 still outstanding is Linsandro Brown, 34 at the time of the May 2011 indictment. He is accused of agreeing to sell $1,200 worth of crack cocaine to another gang member on July 30, 2010.

The Four Block Gang is considered a violent organization that authorities said controlled much of the drug trade in Schenectady’s Hamilton Hill neighborhood. The street gang orchestrated drive-by shootings to protect their turf and feuded with rival gangs, police said.

Police closed in on the Four Block Gang following the high-profile suicides of four teenage Schenectady girls in 2009. Investigators later determined three of the suicides were the result of harassment by gang members. The girls apparently killed themselves after losing their main protector and being forced to face the gang on their own, according to postings they authored on MySpace before their deaths.

The probe led to early morning raids in May 2011 that rounded up 30 suspects, $11,000 in cash, four firearms and 200 grams of crack cocaine; five other suspects in the case were already in police custody at the time of the arrests. The indictment accused 19 of direct membership in the gang.

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