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Convicted Drug Kingpin Fatally Stabbed In Prison

August 23, 1986 GMT

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) _ Felix Mitchell, the convicted kingpin of the ″69 Mob″ who amassed a fortune from selling drugs, has been stabbed to death in federal prison, authorities said.

The California drug gang leader was found wounded in his cell by prison staff members on Thursday afternoon, said Jeff Duncan, executive assistant to the warden. Mitchell, 32, was pronounced dead early Friday, Duncan said.

″I don’t want to say it’s a good thing,″ Oakland Police Officer Terry Tich said of Mitchell’s death. ″But it really helped when he went away for life. It told the young kids ... maybe it’s not something you want to grow up and be. Now it’s that much more of a reinforcement.″

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Mitchell, who grew up in Oakland housing projects, amassed wealth from his drug enterprise that included a $500,000 home in a ritzy section of Southern California and a fleet of cars that included Ferraris and Mercedes, Tich said.

″He had all kinds of gold jewelry, bunches of nice cars,″ he said. ″He was flashy, no doubt about it.″

On learning of Mitchell’s death, his former defense attorney, William Osterhaudt, said, ″I’m sorry for him and his family.″

″He was a product of the system and where he grew up,″ said Osterhaudt. ″They (Mitchell and his gang associates) never had much hope and they never had much realistic way out.″

He said media accounts of Mitchell’s fast lifestyle were overemphasized. Mitchell and his fellow gang members were caught up in crime, Osterhaudt said, ″They did not seek it out.″

Mitchell had been at Leavenworth since June 25, 1985. He worked in the inmate clothing room at the prison, Duncan said. The slaying was the first at the prison since another inmate, James Bryson, was stabbed to death in March 1985.

Duncan said the FBI is investigating the slaying.

Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for conspiracy to sell heroin and operating a continuing criminal enterprise in U.S. District Court in San Francisco June 1985.

Six other members of the ″69 Mob″ received lesser sentences around the same time for their convictions of conspiracy to sell heroin.

Assistant U.S. Attorney George Niespolo told the court at sentencing that the terror-bent ″69 Mob″ earned as much as $400,000 a month while creating thousands of heroin addicts, some of whom worked for the gang in exchange for narcotics.