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Long IslandCrime

Leader of Crips street gang going to prison for 3 life sentences

Raphael Osborne, founder and leader of the Roosevelt

Raphael Osborne, founder and leader of the Roosevelt chapter of the Crips street gang. Photo Credit: Government exhibit

The longtime leader of the Crips street gang’s Roosevelt chapter got three life sentences plus 145 years in prison Friday for “a crime wave that wreaked havoc” on the community for 10 years.

Raphael Osborne, 30, known as the “Big Whale” of the Crips, was convicted on all counts in a 21-count indictment in April after a four-week trial in federal court in Central Islip.

Among the charges were racketeering, drug conspiracy and attempted murder. The attempted murders involved a federal informant and several members of rival gangs.

Before he was sentenced, Osborne claimed that he was not guilty of the crimes and that the court had no authority over him.

U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert disagreed, and in imposing the sentence called Osborne “a cancer on the entire Roosevelt community.”

Osborne started the Rollin’ 60s Crips chapter in Roosevelt in 2003, officials have said. He also was known by the nickname “Gusto.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Boeckmann said during Osborne’s trial that he “is responsible for the crime wave that wreaked havoc on Roosevelt day after day from 2003 to 2013.”

The chapter’s members, among other actions, brought hundreds of illegal firearms to Long Island and waged a bloody war with the archrival Bloods gang, said Boeckmann and another federal prosecutor in the case, Christopher Caffarone.

During Osborne’s trial, prosecutors presented evidence linking the gang to 15 shootings and three homicides while he led the Crips in Roosevelt, according to Robert Capers, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District.

Osborne’s attorney, Richard Miller, of Commack, and prosecutors Boeckmann and Caffarone declined to comment after the sentencing.

The Crips originally were a Los Angeles-based gang that spread across the country.

The Roosevelt chapter was targeted for intensive investigation in December 2011 when a reputed gang member shot a Hempstead police officer, officials have said. One bullet hit the officer’s arm; the second, the officer’s bulletproof vest. The shooter was sentenced to 25 years in prison in April 2013.

The investigation into the gang’s chapter was conducted jointly by federal prosecutors, the FBI’s Long Island gang task force, the Nassau County Police Department and the Nassau County district attorney’s office, according to Capers.

Twenty members or associates of the gang have been arrested since the start of the investigation, officials said. Eighteen have been convicted and two are awaiting trial. Osborne was the eighth to be sentenced.

Almost 3,000 members of the Crips and the Bloods have been identified on Long Island, police have said.

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