Alleged York gang leader pleads guilty to racketeering and drug trafficking conspiracy


James "Doocs" Abney, a leader of the southside gang in York, pleaded guilty to federal charges of racketeering and drug conspiracy Thursday, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

Abney, 29, was indicted along with 20 other alleged members of the Southside gang in September 2014.

Mass indictment: The indictments were the result of a "massive two-year combined investigation" by the York City Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the York County District Attorney's Office, along with state and other local police departments, according to a release from the US Attorney's Office in Harrisburg.

The Southside gang, which was originally affiliated with the New York City-based Bloods gang, operated out of the southeastern part of the city, especially near Maple and South Duke streets.

At the time of the indictment, officials said the gang was roughly 100 members strong and Abney was one of its leaders and main enforcers.

According to the press release, the indictment identified the Southside gang as a criminal organization that guards its territory and maintains power through intimidation, violence and threats and generates profits mostly through open-air drug dealing.

According to the indictment, Abney directed numerous shootings and helped to coordinate drug trafficking and distribution and robberies of rival drug dealers. The indictment says that he led gang members in retaliatory shootings after the rival Parkway gang, which claims the area around Parkway Boulevard, shot up his mother's home in September 2005.

Charges dropped: In 2012 and 2013, Abney spent more than a year in jail on drive-by shooting charges. The charges were dropped in October 2013 because of "a complete and total lack of cooperation from any ... witnesses who were there," according to chief deputy prosecutor Dave Sunday.

Police alleged that Abney was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Ronald Payton Anthony III during a drive-by shooting in the 100 block of Stevens Avenue at 6:45 p.m. on Sept. 4, 2012.

According to police, teenagers Destane Callistro and Shaquille Ennis suffered gunshot wounds but survived.

—Reach Julia Scheib at