A long, violent saga involving murders, kidnappings and drive-by shootings by Buffalo's most notorious street gang is just about over.
The members of the LA Boys street gang are no longer terrorizing the streets of Buffalo, according to a federal prosecutor; they are behind bars.
Four former associates of the gang were sentenced to a total of 25 years in prison Wednesday as the Donald "Sly" Green drug case neared its completion in U.S. District Court.
"This comes pretty close to wrapping up this investigation, and wrapping up a very violent time in Buffalo's history," said Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. "We've now got 27 people behind bars, two others awaiting sentencing and two more who are awaiting trials."
Hochul said the LA Boys gang, during the 1980s and early 1990s, was responsible for at least six murders -- and possibly many others -- in addition to dozens of kidnappings, drive-by shootings and drug deals.
"I think it was the most notorious drug gang we've ever had in this city," Hochul said.
A brother and a former top lieutenant to Donald Green were among those sentenced, as Green's attorney complained about what he called "sweetheart plea deals" given by the federal government.
Sentenced by U.S. District Judge John T. Curtin were:
Clayton "Iceberg" Green, 41, Donald Green's brother, 10 years in prison for felony narcotics conspiracy. A former Niagara Falls resident, he admitted to helping the deadly gang distribute cocaine in Western New York. Hochul said Clayton Green provided "cooperation" but was not called to testify against his brother.
Norman Workman, 34, eight years and 11 months in prison for racketeering. He was described by the FBI as the "lieutenant" who ran the LA Boys drug business on a day-to-day basis. He and his entire family are being given new identities under the federal witness-protection program. When Workman testified as one of the key prosecution witnesses against Donald Green last year, Green was so enraged that he jumped out of his chair and tried to hit him in the head with a courtroom water pitcher.
Robert "Justice" Felder, 36, a career criminal from New York City, five years and four months in prison, also for racketeering. He admitted that he was paid thousands of dollars by Donald Green to murder a rival, but Felder took the money without committing the murder.
James "Bear" Wilson, 27, a muscleman for the gang, 13 months in prison for a felony handgun conviction.
"Workman, Clayton Green and Felder were key members of this conspiracy," Hochul said.
Terry Granger, an attorney for Donald Green, was critical late Wednesday of plea deals given to the three men.
"You have to remember, when most of these killings and drug deals took place, Donald Green was in jail. These were the guys on the street, doing the dirty work," Granger said. "Compared to the fact that Donald Green was sentenced to four terms of life in prison, these guys got free passes from the federal government."
It is true that Green was in prison during many of the crimes, Hochul said, but Green -- through telephone calls and letters -- was clearly running the gang from there.
"Sly Green was giving the orders," Hochul said.
Another former gang associate, Darryl "Reese" Johnson, has been sentenced to eight terms of life in prison -- believed to be the harshest penalty ever given in a federal case in this district.
Hochul said it makes no sense to say that Workman, who provided key testimony in the case, got off easy.
"Norman Workman will be running for the rest of his life," Hochul said. "He and his entire family are getting new identities; they'll never be able to return to Buffalo. He risked his life to testify. I would not call that getting a free pass."