Quentin J. Leeper, a former high school basketball star from Jamestown who became one of the Southern Tier's biggest cocaine dealers, was sentenced Wednesday to 11 years and three months in federal prison.
Leeper, 35, was identified by police as the kingpin of a large crack cocaine-trafficking ring that was broken up with a series of arrests in 2008 after an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force.
The Jamestown resident pleaded guilty last year to a felony drug conspiracy charge and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.
Leeper, quoting from the Bible at times during his sentencing, apologized for his actions, saying he was motivated by greed. He said he is determined, with the help of God, to turn his life around.
His attorney, A. Joseph Catalano, said Leeper grew up as the son of a drug dealer and has been around cocaine trafficking most of his life.
"At the age of 12, his father pulled him out of school and made Quentin accompany him while his father would sell drugs on the street," Catalano said in court papers. "While it is not an excuse, Quentin's upbringing was a difficult one. [He] turned to the only life skill that his father had ever taught him, selling drugs."
In May 2008, one of Leeper's drug associates and closest friends, Quincy Turner, 31, was shot to death by a team of hit men in the Town of Ellicott. Police said Turner, who also drove and built race cars, was killed shortly after he began to cooperate in a drug investigation.
Drug prosecutor Thomas S. Duszkiewicz said nine other people have been convicted of felony charges in connection with Leeper's drug ring.
Leeper's cousin, Koran D. Leeper, 38, of Jamestown, was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison by Skretny, also for a felony drug conspiracy conviction.
In August, federal prosecutors charged five people -- including accused drug trafficker Jose "Noelle" Martinez -- with murdering Turner. They have pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty, Duszkiewicz said.