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Leader Of Mount Vernon Street Gang Gets 40-Year Prison Sentence

A 33-year-old Mount Vernon gang leader was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday in White Plains Federal Court.
A 33-year-old Mount Vernon gang leader was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday in White Plains Federal Court. Photo Credit: U.S. Justice Department

The 33-year-old leader of a Mount Vernon street gang known as "Boss Playa Family," was sentenced on Thursday, March 15, In White Plains Federal Court to 40 Years In prison for racketeering offenses Including two murders of rival gang members in 2008.

Jamel Upson, also known as Flynt, was the leader of the “Boss Playa Family” or “BPF” street gang and committed several shootings, including two murders, in furtherance of the gang, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Upson was sentenced for his role in the street gang based in Mount Vernon.. Upson pled guilty to a Superseding Information on Oct. 5, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas, who imposed Thursday’s sentence.

Berman said: “Jamel Upson lead a gang that posed a grave threat to the people of Mount Vernon. Upson has admitted to personally slaying two rival gang members in the course of gang activities. Jamel Upson’s disturbing indifference to the lives of others has been met with a fittingly stiff prison sentence that will take him off the streets for 40 years.”

To date, five other defendants in this case have been sentenced following guilty pleas to racketeering conspiracy and other offenses as gang members.

According to the Superseding Information, the Indictment, other documents filed in this case, and statements made during court proceedings:

Upson was the leader of the BPF street gang, a criminal enterprise that operated in the Mount Vernon area from approximately 2007 to 2014. BPF members sought to increase the gang’s power, protect and expand its territory, and enrich its members through an array of criminal activities, including shootings, assaults, larcenies, arson, and the distribution of cocaine and marijuana. In particular, BPF sought to assert its dominance over rival Mount Vernon street gangs, principally the “Goonies” gang, through acts of violence including numerous shootings.

On two occasions in 2008, Upson murdered a member of the rival Goonies gang. In the early morning hours of Aug. 13, 2008, UPSON shot and killed 19-year-old Shomari Knox, a Goonies member. Upson , on foot, ambushed a vehicle driven by Knox near Ninth Avenue and Third Street in Mount Vernon. Upson fired at the vehicle with a handgun, striking Knox in the neck. When first responders arrived at the scene, Knox was dead.

On Dec. 14, 2008, Upson shot and killed 21-year-old Cory Cabiness, another member of the Goonies. Upson, on foot and armed with a handgun, ambushed Cabiness near Seventh Avenue and Third Street in Mount Vernon, as Cabiness was walking home from a nightclub in the early morning hours. Upson reportedly shot Cabiness in the head and leg. Cabiness died from the gunshot wounds about two weeks later.

In addition to the murders of Knox and Cabiness, Upson committed several other shootings targeting members and associates of the rival Goonies gang between 2008 and 2010. Upson, along with multiple other BPF members, also carried out a theft of jewelry valued at over $40,000 from a mall in Bergen County, N.J. in January of 2009.

To date, five other defendants in this case have been sentenced following guilty pleas to racketeering conspiracy and other offenses arising out of their participation in the BPF gang. Samuel Carlos, 29, of Mount Vernon, was sentenced to three years in prison and three years of supervised release; Tyrone McCallum, 30, of Mount Vernon, was sentenced to 105 months in prison and five years of supervised release; Portland Ramseur, 33, of Mount Vernon, was sentenced to seven years in prison and three years of supervised release; Gorham Valentine, 33, of Mount Vernon, was sentenced to four years in prison and three years of supervised release; and Jason White, 34, of Mount Vernon, was sentenced to 160 months in prison and five years of supervised release.

Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Mount Vernon Police Department. He also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for its participation and support in this case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney George D. Turner is in charge of the prosecution.

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