U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of New York
Northern District of New York
For Immediate Release
Friday, April 25, 2014
Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney
Contact: Carla Freedman
V-Not Gang Member Sentenced To Prison Term
Habakkuk Nickens -240 Month Sentence
RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney, Northern District of New York, announces the sentencing of HABAKKUK NICKENS, age 28, of Syracuse, NY, an admitted member of the V-NOT Gang. NICKENS previously pled guilty to an indictment which charged him and ten others with conspiring to exploit their membership in the V-NOT Gang to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity which included acts of murder, drug trafficking, and robbery. NICKENS was sentenced today to 240 months in prison.
NICKENS, who was known on the street as “HB,” previously admitted his involvement in many acts, including being present when brother and co-defendant TITUS NICKENS possessed a gun; assaulting and stealing a .50 caliber handgun from a victim along with co-defendants RIADDA TRAVET and CHRISTOPHER MIKE; possessing a .38 caliber handgun; firing a handgun in the vicinity of West Brighton Avenue; participating, along with co-defendants CHRISTOPHER MIKE, JEFFREY POWELL, KAHARI SMITH, TITUS NICKENS, KENNETH JACKSON, DWAYNE HESTER, and others, in a gang fight against Bricktown Gang members on October 23, 2010; and being the driver of a vehicle at the time passenger and co-defendant KAHARI SMITH fired several shots into a rival gang member’s car, with others present including co-defendants JEFFREY POWELL, WILLIE SANDERS and one other person, which resulted in the death of Kihary Blue and the wounding of Bricktown Gang member Jarrell Williams.
All the other indicted V-NOT members previously pled guilty and have been sentenced.
The Indictment to which NICKENS pled alleges that from at least 2003 through May 2012 members of the V-Not Gang: (1) maintained a specific geographic territory within the City of Syracuse in which only gang members can sell crack cocaine and marijuana; (2) protected that exclusive crack distribution territory with violence; (3) obtained drugs from various suppliers; (4) projected a very violent attitude and responded to violence with violence in order to preserve their stature in the gang community; (5) used graffiti, hand signs, and tributes on their clothing to slain gang members to signify their gang membership; (6) used criteria such as a willingness to use violence, ability to sell drugs, and familial connections to determine membership; and (7) routinely carried and used firearms in connection with their gang activity.
There are multiple acts of violence and drug distribution set forth in the Indictment, including 1 murder, 10 other shootings, 8 other acts of gun possession, and 18 acts of crack distribution and/or possession with intent to distribute crack.
This prosecution resulted from a long-term investigation conducted by the Syracuse Gang Violence Task Force, which is comprised of agents and detectives from the following agencies: the Syracuse
Police Department, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, the New York State Troopers, the United States Marshals Service and the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (Syracuse Office). The Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office also assisted in the investigation.
Further questions or inquiries may be directed to Assistant U.S. Attorney, Carla Freedman, who is handling the case, at (315) 448-0672.