Drug kingpin gets multiple life terms

March 12, 1994|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,Sun Staff Writer

As the undisputed king of heroin in Baltimore City's housing projects, Adewale Aladekoba's power was measured by his excesses. With sales of $40,000 a day, he drove a Jaguar XJSC trimmed in 14-karat gold, and those who crossed him discovered that the price could be death.

He confronted the tenuous nature of that power yesterday, as once-trusted gang members appeared in federal court to detail his activities, and U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson sentenced him to multiple life terms in prison.

Aladekoba, a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair after injuries suffered in a 1992 shoot-out with police, sat quietly during the daylong hearing. When the judge offered him a chance to speak, he replied that he had nothing to say.

Aladekoba's now-defunct drug gang, the Jamaican Black Mafia, controlled heroin sales in two public high-rises in 1991 and 1992 and remains one of the most violent gangs Baltimore police have encountered.

One man was murdered after Aladekoba wrongly suspected him of being an undercover officer. And during a police raid on an Asquith Street apartment building where the gang stashed drugs and weapons, several gang members fire-bombed a parked police car, destroying it.

The gang made an impact on the drug community in other ways, too. By introducing sophisticated weapons and marketing heroin jumbo gelatin capsules, they established patterns still followed by local drug dealers, police say.

Officer Vincent Moulter had shot Aladekoba after the drug lord pulled a gun during a traffic stop.

Officer Moulter sat in the front row during yesterday's sentencing, and afterward said the sentence sends an important message.

"All too often I see easier sentences in the courts -- unless a police officer has been shot, they tend to get probation," said the officer, who was not injured in the shooting.

Aladekoba, known on the street as "Jamaican Jay," is the first to be sentenced among four gang leaders convicted last November for offenses related to drug dealing and murder. Federal law does not allow for parole.

During the trial, prosecutors highlighted only one murder -- that of the man suspected of being an undercover officer.

But yesterday, they arranged for the court appearance of two former gang members in hopes of assuring a tough sentence. James Antonio Williams and Reginald Jones testified that Aladekoba was the triggerman in two additional killings.

In both cases, the victims were gang members accused of stealing from Aladekoba.

Abdul Jones was sitting near a group of people outside a Lexington Terrace high-rise when Aladekoba ran up and shot him in the abdomen on July 21, 1992, according to testimony yesterday. A few days later, Aladekoba shot Patrick Davis as he stood in the middle of Watson and Exeter streets, according to testimony.

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