The leader of the notorious Yonkers Elm Street Wolves street gang was found guilty yesterday in White Plains Federal Court of the murder of a rival gang member as well as numerous federal crimes specifically racketeering, firearms offenses, and drug charges. The gang operated in the Nodine Hill section of Yonkers.
In 2011, Steven Knowles was arrested on a 21 count indictment along with 47 other Elm Street Wolves gang members on charges dealing with firearms offenses as well as the distribution of large amounts of crack cocaine. At the time, he and fellow gang members Michael Andrews and Dexter Granger were also charged with the murder of Christopher Cokley, a member of a rival gang.
Since their arrests, many of the 47 gang members have accepted plea bargains or have been found guilty of similar charges.
In early 2011, Davon Young, aka “Burners”; Thomas Chambliss, aka “TC”; and Gregory Fuller, aka “Murder”, all members of the gang were found guilty of narcotics conspiracy, robbery, robbery conspiracy, firearms possession witness tampering offenses, and murder. They all suffered stiff sentences. Chambliss was sentenced to 45 years, Young to 65 years and Fuller to 100 years in prison.
After that conviction a statement was released by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, detailed as follows: “Today justice has been served. These defendants will serve substantial prison sentences as a result of their participation in a brutal murder and other serious crimes. These sentences send a clear message that drug dealing and gang violence will not be tolerated in Yonkers or in any other community this office serves.”
Yesterday’s conviction now holds Knowles accountable not only for Cokley’s murder but also for nearly a decade of dealing drugs in the community and the commission of unimaginable acts of violence in the Nodine Hill area.
Based on the evidence disclosed at the trial:
For more than a decade, from 2000 until his arrest, Knowles was a member of a street gang that was known as the Elm Street Wolves. As time passed, he became the leader of said criminal racketeering enterprise. During the time of his authority, he conspired to kill Christopher Cokley, a member of a rival gang that went by the name Strip Boyz. The murder was carried out on July 4, 2009. Previously, in October, 2007, he shared a role in the attempted murder of another member of the Strip Boyz; Tremaine Garrison, also known as “Triggermain”. Additionally, Mr. Knowles was a lead player in the more than decade-long conspiracy to distribute large amounts of crack cocaine on an ongoing basis in the Nodine Hill area of Southwest Yonkers, New York; specifically within the circumference of thoroughfares between Elm and Oak Streets. Other evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Knowles and his cohorts were in possession of a substantial arsenal of weapons such as hand guns, which they flaunted, and discharged in association with their racketeering and drug trafficking enterprise.
The jury’s decision was that Knowles was guilty of murder in aid of racketeering, racketeering, conspiracy to murder in aid of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute more than 280 grams of crack cocaine as well as discharging firearms in continuance of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence.
He was found not guilty on one of the counts of attempted murder and one of the counts of possession. He was also acquitted on one count of conspiracy to commit murder, and one of the counts of carrying a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
In his latest statement United States Attorney Preet Bharara commented “This conviction is a continuation of the long-standing commitment by federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities to rid Yonkers and other communities in the Southern District of New York of violent drug gangs. Law enforcement has pledged itself to this cause for several years now and has not stood down.”
Knowles sentencing will be held before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M Karas on May 29 of next year. He will face a compulsory sentence of life in prison.