An admitted member of the Bloods street gang responsible for numerous crack cocaine deals on the streets of Kingston was sentenced to 15 years in state prison for the crimes, officials said.
Gary "B-War" Watkins, 30, of Kingston was also sentenced to three years of post-release supervision Monday by Ulster County Court Judge Donald Williams after having been found guilty by a jury in September of five counts of felony drug sales and five counts of felony drug possession, Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright said Wednesday.
Watkins was arrested March 29 as part of Kingston's Operation Clean Sweep drug-enforcement campaign after selling crack cocaine on five occasions to an undercover State Police investigator. On three of those times, Watkins negotiated the deal over the phone and sent a lieutenant to act as bagman on the sale, according to Carnright. Watkins conducted the sale himself on the two other occasions.
As a member of the Bloods, Watkins brought an influx of gang members from New York City to fill the void created by previous prosecutions against the Bloods' "Sex, Money, Murder" sub-gang in Kingston, Carnright said.
Watkins has two prior felony drug convictions, Carnright said. He was in prison from September 2002 to December 2004, and from January 2006 to November 2008, on those convictions, according to a state database.
The case was investigated by the Ulster district attorney's office along with State Police, Kingston police and the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team Task Force, Carnright said. Assistant District Attorney Michael Kavanagh prosecuted.
Watkins' attorney, Dennis McClure of Kingston, previously said he planned to appeal the conviction. He did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday.