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Muslim leader Sentenced to Life on Drug and Murder Charges

September 25, 1993 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A black Muslim leader and six others convicted on federal racketeering charges involving murder and drug dealing have been sentenced to life in prison.

Jerry Lewis-Bey, Raymond Amerson-Bey, Noble Bennett, Carlton Darden-Bey, Gerald Hopkins, Carla Seals and Michael Williams were sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge George F. Gunn Jr., U.S. Attorney Edward Dowd Jr. said.

The government accused Lewis-Bey of running a multi-million dollar drug empire, routinely killing off rivals and suspected snitches and hiding the whole enterprise behind religion.

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Prosecutors say the gang was responsible for 10 killings in 12 years as it handled 35 percent to 45 percent of the cocaine sold in the St. Louis area.

Lewis-Bey, 43, said he was a grand sheik of the Moorish Science Temple of America.

He said he was the target of religious persecution, targeted because he was sometimes outspoken in his criticism of city leaders as he tried to cleanse his community of drugs and violence.

″I need to be free so I can help my people,″ he told the judge at his sentencing. ″I’m not a killer. I am not a criminal.″