Richard “50 Cent” Gibbs’ shooting death in Albany’s South End last year forced authorities to hasten a probe into a massive drug ring operating in the Capital Region.
But the sweep that led to the arrest of 42 people in March didn’t result in charges against the killer of the 25-year-old ex-convict, gunned down near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Clinton Street in November 2011.
Authorities now say the fatal shooting was by Jallah Drake, 21, who was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder in the killing of Gibbs.
Drake was also charged with felony counts of weapons possession and tampering with physical evidence before County Court Judge Stephen Herrick. Among other charges, the indictment returned this week alleges Drake shot Gibbs with a pistol and possessed two illegal firearms.
Also arrested in connection with the case were Kareem Collier, 26, Jameek Croley, 25, and Rashad Maye, 25, all of Albany. The three men each face multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
Chief Assistant District Attorney David Rossi is handling the prosecution.
Dubbed “Operation OGK,” the six-month investigation was a collaborative effort between more than 150 officers that involved roughly 60 locations in the Northeast. Charges included criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy in the second-degree, all felonies.
Investigators were just beginning to assemble their case when it became clear that Gibbs’ death was about to touch off retaliatory gang violence on the streets unless they acted quickly. Gibbs was associated with the Albany-based Original Gangsta Killas, or “OGK” street gang.
Five members of the gang were among the dozens arrested after a 261-count indictment handed up in March. Gibbs was also named in the indictment, accused of trafficking cocaine.
The indictment claimed Travis Nutbrown, a 33-year-old Vermont man, gave 34-year-old Mario Perez of Troy a revolver in exchange for cocaine. Authorities believe Perez was going to supply OGK member Jamel Pearson, 34, of Albany, with a gun to exact retribution on the rival gang suspected in the Gibbs killing.