Leader Of Bronx Violent Drug Crew Sentenced To 27 Years In Prison For Agreeing To Commit Murder For Hire, Gun Crimes, And Drug Selling

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SYDNEY SCALES was sentenced today to 27 years in prison for his role as the leader of a violent drug distribution organization that operated in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx, including his use of guns and participation in a murder-for-hire conspiracy in June 2017.  SCLAES was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, after being convicted at trial in August 2021 of conspiring to distribute controlled substances, conspiring to commit murder for hire, and related firearms offenses.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Sydney Scales was the leader of a violent drug crew.  He caused at least one drug-related shooting, and he hired a hitman in an attempt to murder rival drug dealers who were having a barbecue in front of a neighborhood barbershop in the Bronx.  Today’s sentence sends a powerful message that people who would commit violent crimes will be arrested, prosecuted, and face serious consequences.”

According to the Superseding Indictment and the evidence at trial:

Between in or about 2016 and in or about 2019, SCALES participated in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana in the Bronx and elsewhere.  SCALES also used, carried, and possessed firearms, which were brandished and discharged, in connection with the narcotics conspiracy, and aided and abetted such firearms offenses.  For example, the Government offered evidence that on December 1, 2016, SCALES caused a shooting at rival drug dealers standing in front of a convenience store located next to the entrance of the West Farms subway station.

In addition, in or about June 2017, SCALES conspired to commit murder for hire, agreeing to pay another person for locating and killing at least one rival drug dealer. 

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Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the New York City Police Department. 

The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Balsamello, Mathew Andrews, and Andrew K. Chan are in charge of the prosecution.