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Two reputed Far Rockaway gang members, including one whose brother was killed in a police-involved shooting in January, were convicted last week on gun charges, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
"These convictions are particularly significant in light of the recent string of senseless shootings in the Rockaways that left two young people dead," Brown said, referring to the May murders of Brandon Bethea and Tyrese Johnson. "They send a clear message that we are committed to getting guns off the street of Far Rockaway and putting those who would carry them into prison."
Andrew Smalls, 21, of 76-00 Shore Front Pkwy. in Far Rockaway, faces up to 15 years in prison when he is expected to be sentenced July 10, Brown said.
Smalls, an alleged member of the gang GIB — short for "Get It In Bricks" — was convicted June 5 on criminal possession of a weapon charges by a jury before Queens Supreme Court Judge Michael Aloise, Brown said.
He and his brother, Ronnie Smalls, were arrested May 20, 2006, after 100th Precinct officers on patrol in Far Rockaway saw them walking away from 81-05 Rockaway Beach Blvd., where gunshots were fired early that morning, according to the DA. They were charged with illegally possessing a loaded 380 semi-automatic gun, Brown said.
Ronnie Smalls, believed to be a GIB member, was wanted on a bench warrant in the case and was killed in an armed confrontation with police in January, Brown said.
The day before Andrew Smalls' conviction, 21-year-old Far Rockaway resident Joel Clarke pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon before Aloise, Brown said.
Clarke, of 13-15 Dinsmore St., is expected to be given five years in prison and five years post-release supervision when he is sentenced July 16, according to the DA.
Clarke, believed to be a member of the Crips, was arrested Aug. 24 after police took a loaded .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol from his pants pocket at the corner of Seagirt Avenue and Beach 25th Street, Brown said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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