An admitted member of the Bloods street gang faces up to 30 years in state prison after being found guilty of a series of drug sales in Kingston, officials said Monday.
Gary "B-War" Watkins, 30, was found guilty by an Ulster County Court jury Thursday, county District Attorney D. Holley Carnright said in a release. He was convicted of five counts of third-degree possession of a controlled substance and five counts third-degree sale of a controlled substance, both felonies.
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, Carnright said. On three of those times, Watkins negotiated the deal over the phone and sent a lieutenant, Isiah Pickett, to act as bagman on the sale, he said. Watkins conducted the sale himself on the two other occasions.
Pickett admitted his role in the crimes before trial and will be sentenced Oct. 19, Carnright said.
Watkins is believed to be a high-ranking member of the Bloods gang, Carnright said, who has 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.
Watkins faces up to 30 years when he is sentenced Nov. 28 because of two prior felony drug convictions, Carnright said.
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, Denis McClure of Kingston, said he intends to appeal the verdict but declined further comment.