A Drug Dealer Gets a Sentence Of 7
By Leonard Buder - The New York Times
Saturday, December 2, 1989
A 30-year-old drug dealer who ran one of the largest
and most violent drug rings in Brooklyn and was responsible for 6
murders, 17 assaults, a kidnapping, a maiming and other crimes, was
sentenced yesterday to seven consecutive life terms in Federal prison.
As the defendant, Delroy (Uzi) Edwards, stood in
Federal District Court with his hands clasped and his head slightly
bowed, Judge Raymond J. Dearie said he wished the sentencing could have
been on a Brooklyn street, so young people could ''see what this fast-lane
life style has to offer.''
Mr. Edwards, a Jamaican who lives in Brooklyn, was
the first dealer to sell crack, the smokable cocaine derivative, in the
Bedford-Stuyvesant area, in 1985, law-enforcement authorities have said.
They said he received his nickname because he sometimes concealed an Uzi
submachine gun under a trench coat.
After a plea from Mr. Edwards's court-appointed
lawyer, David Gordon, to impose a sentence that would offer the
defendant hope ''down the road,'' Judge Dearie said: ''I hope he finds a
way to make something of his life. But I believe in my heart that the
theme of this proceeding has to be, 'Thou shall not kill.' '' Not
Eligible for Parole
Under the sentence, which calls for 15 years in
prison besides the life sentences, and a $1 million fine, Mr. Edwards
will not be eligible for parole.
Mr. Edwards, who wore a gray business suit, said
nothing. His appearance and demeanor yesterday, as well as at the trial
last summer, was in sharp contrast to a picture painted by the
prosecutors, John Gleeson and Jonny J. Frank.
At the trial, they had depicted Mr. Edwards as a ''coldhearted,
brutal, vicious killer'' who dealt harshly with rival dealers and
employees he suspected of stealing from him and, in the process, was
often responsible for the deaths or injuries of innocent people ''who
happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.'' He was convicted
on 42 counts.
After Mr. Gordon had asked Judge Dearie to hold out
the possibility of a parole, Mr. Gleeson told the court: ''He's been
convicted of the most serious drug offenses. It's the whole smorgasboard
of crimes that can be brought in this context. No country deserves the
risk of his ever being on the streets.''
Before imposing sentence, Judge Dearie said Mr.
Edwards has intelligence, street smarts and leadership qualities and
could have made something of his life. Instead, the judge said, Mr.
Edwards chose ''this joy ride, this flashy come-and-get-me life style''
that left in its trail many victims.
The judge added that in a sense, Mr. Edwards was one
of his own victims and that as he pursued his illicit career, he ''became
one of the pioneers of the crack trade.''
Mr. Edwards, who has been in jail since March 1988,
still faces a state murder charge in a homicide in 1987.
Delroy (Uzi) Edwards, described as the leader of one
of Brooklyn's largest and most violent drug rings, who has been
sentenced to seven consecutive life terms.
Crack's destructive sprint
The New York Times
October 1, 1989
Delroy Edwards grew up poor
in the tough, stifling shantytowns of Kingston,
Jamaica. In 1980, at the age of 20, he went to
work as a street enforcer for the Jamaica Labor
Party of Edward Seaga. Seaga was locked in a
bitter election duel with the People's National
Party, headed by Michael Manley, and each side
was forming armed gangs to intimidate the other.
The gangs did their job only
too well, killing 800 people by election day.
After his victory, Seaga launched a crackdown,
and many gang members, feeling the heat, headed
for the United States. Among them was Delroy
Edwards. Slipping into Brooklyn on a tourist
visa, he eventually made his way into the
marijuana business, selling nickel bags out of a
At the beginning of 1985,
Edwards learned to make crack. Soon he was
selling little else. He worked out of two ''flagship''
spots in Brooklyn - one, a two-story house, the
other, an abandoned brownstone near a housing
project. Enough poor blacks coughed up enough $5
bills to enable Edwards to buy a $150,000 home
on Long Island - and to pay for it in cash.
That wasn't enough for
Edwards, who began looking to expand his
business. Unfortunately, New York was already
crowded with crack dealers; outside the city,
however, lay plenty of virgin territory. In
Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, for
instance, crack was just beginning to catch on.
Enterprising local dealers would travel to New
York, buy a few ounces of cocaine, return home,
convert it into crack, and sell the product for
three or four times the New York street price.
In the fall of 1986, Edwards
traveled to Washington and set up shop; by the
following spring his lieutenants had established
thriving businesses in Philadelphia and
Baltimore as well. At its peak, Edwards's
organization, known as the Rankers, employed 50
workers and made up to $100,000 a day.
The glory days did not last.
Edwards - nicknamed ''Uzi'' for his taste in
weapons -was pathologically violent. People who
crossed him were pistol-whipped, beaten with
baseball bats, shot in the legs. One 16-year-old
worker, suspected of cheating, was beaten
unconscious with bats, scalded with boiling
water, and suspended by a chain from the ceiling
until he died.
Eventually, the police caught
up with Edwards, and in July a Brooklyn jury
convicted him on 42 counts of murder, assault,
kidnapping and drug dealing. Edwards is now
awaiting sentencing. The Rankers have
But there are 40 other groups
just like the Rankers, running crack out of New
York and Miami to points across the country.
Posses, they're called, after their members'
affection for American westerns (and the guns
used in them). Most, like the Rankers, took
shape as gangs during the 1980 Jamaican election,
then fled to the United States and regrouped.
Here, their 10,000 to 20,000 members, organized
in posses with as few as 25 members and as many
as several hundred, keep incessantly on the move,
slipping in and out of the many Jamaican
communities scattered across the country.
To maintain loyalty, each
posse generally restricts membership to the
residents of a particular neighborhood in
Kingston. Posse members travel with fake IDs,
making it tough for policemen to identify them.
Sometimes, as a cover, they attach themselves to
reggae groups touring the country. Today,
Jamaicans are believed to control 35 percent to
40 percent of the nation's crack network.
''They're very good
businessmen,'' says John A. O'Brien, an agent
with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
(B.A.T.F.), the Federal agency that most closely
monitors the posses. ''They follow the law of
supply and demand. When they see that a vial of
crack selling for $5 in New York will get $15 in
Kansas City, they'll move in.''
New York is their ''training
school,'' O'Brien says, ''like going to Wharton.
They'll take a guy doing a good job in Harlem
and send him to open an office in the Midwest.''
On his arrival in the new area, the posse sales
rep will rent a motel room and conduct a market
survey of sorts to determine the most lucrative
spot in town. Then he'll rent an apartment or,
better yet, get a single female to lend him one
in return for crack.
Delroy "Uzi" Edwards is a gang
and drug lord, leader of the Renkers. In his late twenties, and handsome.
"His eyes had already acquired the faraway, affectless gaze of someone
used to killing." He was short and stocky, fit as a fiddle, "with a body
bulked up from lifting weights".
Delroy's "Uzi" Edwards had earned his
nickname from the gun he favoured "when he was a political mercenary for
Seaga, in Kingston." The party, JLP, "hired him for a princely ten
dollars a week during the 1980 election to shoot the PNP, [Manley's
party] out of Southside, part of the neighbourhood that was Michael
Manley's own constituency."
Ten dollars a week to produce mayhem! But it happened.
And is happening.
"Uzi" himself relates that he had named his political
gang and drug posse Renkers. "It means stinky" said he with a puckish
grin. "Its like the smell when you piss against a wall." Probably it is
the smell of a system that has persisted too long.
Now we come to the actual violence. Do not say you
have no stomach for it, dear reader. It is all around us. And in one way
or another, by omission or commission, and however insulated we are from
it, however indifferent or holier than thou we feel, we are part of the problem. Truth insists that I cannot say otherwise, much as I
would like to.
So Delroy "Uzi" Edwards head of the drug posse has
decided to put a gang member , Norman Allwood, to death. The Renkers
cleared as much as fifty thousand dollars on a good day, with a cut rate
price on crack, "two-vials-for-the-price-of-one." Besides being
entrepreneurs of death, they have good sales-pitch and marketing skills,
you will agree.
At seventeen Norman Allwood was the Renkers youngest
"soldier". He could be your son or mine. However he had been nothing but
a liability to the Renkers don. Shorting "Uzi" on money and stealing
crack from the Renkers stash. A few weeks before, Norman Allwood, had
failed to deliver four hundred U.S. dollars he owed and "Uzi" shot him
in the leg, a favourite punishment, as a warning.
Now Norman Allwood has done it again. Stolen crack.
He is to feel Uzi's wrath.
"They say it takes more heart to beat somebody than
to stab or shoot them" said Conroy Green one of the Renkers members, as
he mused as to why Uzi chose to discipline Allwood the way he did. "I
guess it is easier to pull the trigger of a gun."
So the Renkers lit into Allwood and beat him
unconscious. When he came to and began to whimper and writhe, Kenneth
Manning got vexed. Blasted vex. Manning was in his fifties, the oldest
man in the posse and a relative to Uzi. He walked over, got some
scalding hot water and poured it all over Allwood. "Manning was kind of
you know ---- laughing". Allwood, the kid, the crack stealing kid, his
skin started to strip as the scalding water boiled him. He moved. "Oh
you not dead yet?" said Manning. He was laughing at him in his death
throes. After that they left him hanging, chained to a beam. "He died
sometime during the night."
Make no mistake about it. There is at work in this
the cold, conscience-unaffected terror, of the natural born killer.
Killing is a laughing sport. And it is not just the younger generation.
The Renkers are made up, of you and I, from 17 to 50. It is to this we
have come 35 years after Independence! It is a reality that will not go
away until displaced and replaced.
Fan the Flame by Leonard Tim Hector
SEX: M RACE: B TYPE: N MOTIVE:
MO: Sadistic Jamaican drug
dealer; alleged to be first dealer of "crack" cocaine in USA.
DISPOSITION: seven consecutiva
life terms + 15 years, 1989, on 42 counts including six murders.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern