Fayetteville’s ‘Priority No. 1’ gang leader gets 35 years in prison

March 8, 2018 GMT

A gang leader authorities dubbed “Priority No. 1” has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for orchestrating shootings, home invasions, carjackings and other crimes in the Fayetteville area, authorities said Wednesday.

Genesis Lee Whitted Jr., 28, is the leader of a faction of the Bloods street gang called “Addicted to Money,” or ATM for short. He was convicted in October of six counts of distributing crack cocaine and one count each of conspiracy to traffic crack cocaine and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

ATM has used violence and intimidation to rule the drug trade in Fayetteville for almost a decade, said Robin Pendergraft, chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

″[Whitted] and his associates not only trafficked cocaine, they wreaked havoc on Fayetteville,” Pendergraft said at a news conference. “Innocent people were often collateral damage to them.”

Gang members would raid the homes of rival drug dealers and threaten them and their girlfriends until drugs or money was handed over, Pendergraft said. In addition to pistol whipping and beating their victims, they would put bags over their heads and suffocate them until they passed out, would pour boiling water on them and even used a stun gun on a woman’s genitals.

“The torture seemed relentless,” Pendergraft said. “The savagery was horrendous.”

The group has used a Pamalee Drive carwash, LLB Auto Spa, as a front to deal crack cocaine for the past two years. Surveillance video by the FBI and Fayetteville police showed numerous cars driving in and out, but very few were ever cleaned.

“It was really not a carwash,” Pendergraft said.

Whitted was so good at making and distributing crack that he got images of a Pyrex measuring cup and a box of baking soda – key ingredients in making crack – tattooed on his chest, authorities said.

His criminal record dates back a decade, including convictions for burglary, larceny and drug distribution, according to state Department of Public Safety records. He received probation in most cases, however, spending only eight months in prison when his probation was revoked on a drug-related charge.

But Whitted also was charged in a October 2009 homicide in which he was accused of shooting a man who kicked him out of his house for arguing.

Investigators say the case fell apart after the lone witness who implicated Whitted recanted his testimony. He later died in jail of an apparent heart attack.

“He has escaped punishment for years through obstruction and witness intimidation,” Pendergraft said.

Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins said Wednesday that her detectives continue to work old homicide cases and will pursue new charges against Whitted if they gather more evidence.

The following ATM members have been convicted over the past two years: