The Alfonse M. D'Amato U.S. District Courthouse in Central Islip.
Photo: WIkimedia Commons.

A member of a Riverhead-based street gang was sentenced Monday to 20 years in federal prison for racketeering, including conspiring to distribute narcotics and participating in the murder of a man in Riverside in November 2015.

Terrill Latney, 40, of Mastic Beach, an associate of the Red Stone Gorilla “set” of the Bloods street gang based in Riverhead, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert in Central Islip.

He pleaded guilty in February to racketeering.

Latney and five other local men were indicted by a federal grand jury last year on charges of murder, racketeering, robberies, narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses. They faced life sentences.

As alleged in the indictment and other court filings, Latney participated in the distribution of large quantities of crack cocaine, cocaine and heroin in the Riverhead area for nearly a decade.

On Nov. 17, 2015, Latney assisted members of the Bloods in their attempt to kill a rival gang member. Specifically, Latney drove three Bloods members to a location in Riverside where they fired at least 39 shots into a parked car that they erroneously believed was occupied by the rival gang member. In fact, the car was occupied by Thomas Lacolla, 27, of Riverhead, who was killed in the fusillade.

“With today’s sentence, justice has been served for years of drug dealing, violence and murder, which wreaked havoc in Riverhead and the surrounding area,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Seth DuCharme.

“This outcome brings a measure of closure to the victims and stands for the principle that we remain ever-committed to dismantling violent street gangs on Long Island and restoring safety and the rule of law to every community,” DuCharme said.

Two of the other men charged in the indictment, Roger Foster, 23, of Baiting Hollow and Willie Belcher, 24, of Flanders have entered plea deals with prosecutors and await sentencing. Willie Belcher is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 20 and Roger Foster is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan 13.

The alleged gang leader, Jimmy Dean, 42, of Calverton, is next due in court on Nov. 16. Corey Belcher, 35, of Riverhead is due back in court on Nov. 17 and Eric Ross, 28, of Flanders is next due in court on Nov. 20.

Editor’s note: A criminal charge is an accusation. By law, a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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