Crime & Courts

Gang-connected drug dealer pleads guilty

A street-level cocaine dealer associated with the Gangsta Killer Bloods pleaded guilty this morning to selling up to 50 grams of crack on McDuffie Avenue from May 2000 until his arrest in October.

Leonard Travis McCoy, 24, pleaded guilty in front of U.S. Chief District Court Judge Joe Anderson.

Assistant U.S. Attorney J.D. Rowell said in court that McCoy was a street-level dealer in the McDuffie Avenue area, off Forest Drive near Providence Hospital.

Prosecutors, FBI agents and confidential sources have testified in court that the McDuffie Avenue area’s drug dealing was once controlled by the Gangsta Killer Bloods, the target of an ongoing, major state and federal investigation.

Prosecutors did not say if McCoy was a full-fledged GKB member, but did say he operated in a GKB-controlled area.

Prosecutors, FBI agents and court documents have said the gang is one of the area’s major suppliers and distributors of crack cocaine and is responsible for some of the area’s most violent crimes.

The Gangsta Killer Bloods, sometimes referred to as GKB, are a set of the United Blood Nation operating in Columbia. The United Blood Nation is the East Coast version of the Bloods, the infamous Los Angeles street gang.

The gang investigation includes several federal indictments involving more than 50 defendants. The main case involves 23 GKB members and drug suppliers who were arrested since January. Their trial is scheduled for July.

McCoy was one of 16 defendants named in an indictment handed down in July 2006. McCoy is the fifth person in that indictment to plead guilty. Three people in that indictment — John Ivory Smith, Shirley Anett Mills and Cornelius Paul Evans — have already been sentenced.

Evans and Smith were sentenced to time already served in prison. Mills received a three-year prison sentence.

The gang is the target of an investigation involving the FBI, Columbia Police Department and Richland County Sheriff’s Department, among other law enforcement agencies.