Leader of Peekskill Drug Organization Gets Life Imprisonment for Murders – US Law Newswire Service

LawFuel.com – US Legal Newswire –
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that KHALID BARNES, a/k/a
“Big Homie,” a/k/a “Lid,” was sentenced to life in prison today by
United States District Judge STEPHEN C. ROBINSON in White Plains
federal court for the murders of two drug dealers in Manhattan. On
May 13, 2008, a jury convicted BARNES, 33, of the February 13,
2004, murders of drug dealers Demond Vaughan and Sergio Santana
after a six-week trial. On May 30, 2008, after considering two
other options –- a sentence of death or allowing the court to
decide the sentence –- the same jury returned a unanimous verdict
imposing a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of
release against BARNES.

The murders were charged under a federal statute
governing deaths caused in the course of using or carrying a
firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime or a crime of
violence. The jury also convicted BARNES of racketeering,
racketeering conspiracy, multiple counts of narcotics trafficking,
conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping, possession of a firearm in
furtherance of a crime of violence, possession of a silencer in
furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of
ammunition by a convicted felon. Among the other sentences
imposed, Judge ROBINSON imposed concurrent sentences of 30 years on
the racketeering charges, the narcotics conspiracy charges, and the
kidnapping charge.

According to the evidence at trial:

BARNES was a leader of a racketeering enterprise centered
in Peekskill, New York (the “Barnes Brothers Organization”), that,
from 1995 through 2004 was involved in the distribution of large
quantities of crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and marijuana, as well
as acts of violence including two murders and a kidnapping. At its
peak in the fall of 2003, the Barnes Brothers Organization was
distributing well over 100 grams of crack on a daily basis. This
represented between $8,000 and $10,000 a day in revenue to the
organization. In November 2003, BARNES and three others tried
unsuccessfully to steal drugs from their then supplier by
kidnapping one of the supplier’s workers after a meeting in
Yonkers, near the Bronx border. The kidnapping victim escaped by
diving out of a moving car on Broadway in the Bronx.

Shortly thereafter, BARNES started working with new
cocaine suppliers, Demond Vaughan and Sergio Santana. BARNES
bought multiple kilograms of cocaine from them over a several-month
period, and, in February 2004, BARNES devised a plan to set up a
drug deal with Vaughan and Santana, but then to kill them in order
to steal cocaine and money from them. Several days before the
murders, BARNES arranged the drug deal and made inquiries about a
firearm. On February 13, 2004, BARNES purchased a .22-caliber
pistol and custom-made silencer from a Peekskill acquaintance,
drove by himself to Vaughan’s apartment on 145th Street in
Manhattan, entered the apartment, and shot Vaughan and Santana in
the head multiple times while they counted money. Both Vaughan and
Santana were found dead with some of the money still clutched in
their hands.

In March 2004, when BARNES and several of his
coconspirators were arrested, agents seized hundreds of grams of
crack and powder cocaine from stash houses used by members of the
Barnes Brothers Organization, as well as numerous firearms and
ammunition. In addition to being convicted of the crimes listed
above, Barnes was acquitted of three attempted murder counts, two
counts of conspiracy to murder, and one count of possessing a
firearm and ammunition while a convicted felon.

United States Attorney BHARARA said, “The Barnes Brothers
Organization was a plague on Peekskill, spreading drugs and
violence in its wake. Today’s life sentence ensures that Khalid
Barnes and his crew will never again pose a threat to the Peekskill

KHALID BARNES’ conviction is the result of a lengthy
wiretap investigation by and close coordination among the United
States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), the Peekskill
Police Department, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the
Southern District of New York. Including KHALID BARNES, 13 members
of the Barnes Brothers Organization have been convicted to date.
Ten have been sentenced and their prison terms range from 4 to 13
years. Regarding two additional members, DAWUD BARNES pleaded
guilty and TUERE BARNES was convicted after a trial. Both are
awaiting sentencing. One other defendant, ANTHONY PAULINO, is a
fugitive. As to PAULINO, the charges in the Indictment are merely
accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.

Mr. BHARARA thanked the DEA and the Peekskill Police for
their tireless efforts in dismantling the Barnes Brothers

Assistant United States Attorney ANDREW S. DEMBER is in
charge of the prosecution.
09-300 ###

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