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SUFFOLK COUNTY/'Rim Reaper' ringleader gets 11-year prison sentenceThe ringleader of the "Rim Reapers" auto parts theft gang was sentenced yesterday to 11 years in prison.

Darren Scales, 25, of Mastic, had pleaded guilty in October to his role in the thefts, as well as a separate gun-trafficking ring. He also admitted assaulting a police officer during a January traffic stop and beating two correction officers while incarcerated in Suffolk County jail in Riverhead.

It took Suffolk County Court Judge Richard Ambro more than 10 minutes to sentence Scales because there were more than 70 counts that included grand larceny, possession of stolen property, assault, criminal mischief, conspiracy, sale of firearms, weapons possession and insurance fraud.

Prosecutors had said Scales and four other men stripped accessories such as tires and wheel rims from high-end vehicles such as Nissan Maximas and Cadillac Escalades and sold the parts on the Internet. Scales was the group's leader, prosecutors said. The group dubbed itself the "Rim Reapers," prosecutors said.

The gang allegedly stole more than $250,000 worth of parts from six Suffolk auto dealerships and several homes from September 2009 to February 2010, prosecutors said.

Three others charged in connection with the case have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Shiry Gaash said outside court. Hasheem McLaurin, 29, of North Amityville, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial, she said.

Besides Scales, six others have pleaded guilty in connection with the gun-trafficking ring, Gaash said. One other is awaiting trial, she said.

- CARL MACGOWAN

AMAGANSETT / Worker dies after being trapped under tractor wheel

A worker at the Peconic Land Trust-Quail Hill Preserve in Amagansett died Tuesday when he became trapped underneath a rear wheel of a tractor he was operating, police said.

Joshua M. Levine, 35, of Sag Harbor, was pronounced dead at scene, 660 Old Stone Hwy. at 11:37 p.m., East Hampton police said.

The tractor Levine was operating, a Case International tractor, was impounded for a safety inspection, detectives said.

- WILLIAM MASON

WESTBURY / Man arrested for marijuana after cops follow odor

All Nassau police detectives responding to "a strong odor" of marijuana had to do was follow their noses.

Police said the scent led Tactical Enforcement Team and narcotics detectives to a house on Morningside Drive in Westbury Monday night, where they found 164 marijuana plants - more than 10 pounds' worth - and $10,405 in cash.

They arrested resident John M. Driscoll, 23, charging him with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana. He was arrested at 9:45 p.m.

Driscoll pleaded not guilty to the charges yesterdayTuesday in First District Court in Hempstead. He was held on $30,000 bond or $15,000 bail.

Det. Lt. Ray Cote said Driscoll was planning to harvest many of the plants in December. He said the December harvest alone would likely have sold for about $40,000.

- JOHN VALENTI

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