- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2000

Meet Kevin Gray, second-generation crime boss. If what prosecutors suspect is proven true in court, Kevin Gray is one scary dude. As vicious as mob boss John Gotti, more ruthless than the notorious Rayful Edmond III and as violent as Al Capone. Gray had been a domineering force on the District's narcotics scene since the 1980s. And, get this, Gray is only 28 years old.

Gray was the shooter in five slayings and arranged hits in 10 other killings, according a 76-count federal indictment made public May 9. The charging documents name 13 co-defendants, most of them twenty- and thirty-somethings. He and his tightly knit band killed witnesses and potential witnesses, rivals and rivals of rivals. They sold crack cocaine and powder cocaine, and they trafficked in heroin and marijuana from Capitol Hill to Congress Heights. Other charges include racketeering and conspiracy and, because the investigation is on-going, additional murder charges are pending. In other words, a crime syndicate.

Gray, who also is a murder suspect in Virginia, faces more murder charges than any single defendant in D.C. history. The first killing was in early October 1990, the motive was a drug debt and the victim was Anthony Lee Dent, 24. One of the recent killings was in March 1999; the motive was a hit on behalf of someone else, and the victim was Jaime Pereira, 51. He was not the intended target; his boss was. In fact, the same hitman shot another innocent victim on a second try.

Locked up since the indictment was issued last fall, Gray was nabbed by the Safe Streets Task Force, a group of D.C. detectives and FBI agents who secured the cooperation of more than two dozen witnesses and Gray associates. Investigators also executed 54 search warrants, seized narcotics, 35 firearms, nine vehicles and more than $150,000, and charged 50 persons. The Gray case is on the docket of Judge Royce Lamberth, who has handled several high-profile cases involving the Clinton administration. If convicted, Gray will never again be a free man.

"This is one of the most violent, if not the most violent, gangs the city has seen to date," the top prosecutor in the District, U.S. Attorney Wilma Lewis, said at the May 9 press conference. Indeed, Kevin Gray felt threatened by even potential rivals. One of the guys he is accused of gunning down, nicknamed "Booyang," was murdered because he sold fake crack.

By comparison, John Gotti, a New York boss, was convicted of murder, conspiracy, racketeering, gambling, loan sharking, obstruction of justice, bribery and tax fraud. Legendary Chicago boss Al "Scarface" Capone was convicted on federal income tax charges. "Don Vitone" Genovese, the founder of the Genovese crime family, was convicted in 1959 on drug charges.

Kevin Gray's ties to the D.C. underworld run long. An uncle, Linwood "Big Boy" Gray, was acquitted in 1979 on charges of running an international heroin ring, but was convicted on tax charges. One of Kevin Gray's most trusted co-defendants, Rodney Moore, 34, contacted the District's heretofore drug "kingpin," Rayful Edmond III, to arrange a cocaine deal just two years after Edmond was imprisoned. Is it mere coincidence that Kevin Gray is suspected of becoming a drug lord just as Edmond was whisked off to the pen?

Police Chief Chuck Ramsey said authorities will keep a close watch on remaining Gray associates and other criminals to ensure another gang doesn't take up the slack. Lord knows the demand for drugs will fuel that possibility.

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