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West Side gang member sentenced to 17 years for roles in two murders

A member of a West Side Buffalo criminal gang who was convicted on a federal racketeering and conspiracy charge was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Ritchie Juarbe, 26, was a member of the Cheko’s Crew/7th Street Gang, which was responsible for several murders and the distribution of illegal narcotics between 2000 and 2010 on Buffalo's West Side, according to  Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi. The narcotics distributed included heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine and marijuana.

Juarbe and a co-defendant, Efrain Hidalgo, both went to the house of Raquan Lloyd on Nov. 6, 2008, where Hidalgo shot and killed Lloyd, according to acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr.

After the murder, Juarbe discarded the murder weapon by throwing it into the Niagara River, Kennedy said.

Juarbe also participated in the Aug. 11, 2009, murder of 10th Street Gang associate Eric Morrow.

A total of 18 defendants have been charged and convicted in the 7th Street case, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Juarbe's sentencing Friday was the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,  the New York State Police, the Buffalo Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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