Gang leader convicted of heroin trafficking by federal jury

Posted at 11:11 PM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 23:11:54-05
Kenton Maurice Taylor (April 2011, Michigan Department of Corrections)

Kenton Maurice Taylor (April 2011, Michigan Department of Corrections)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The highest ranking Michigan member of a well-documented Chicago street gang has been convicted of felony heroin trafficking charges in Grand Rapids, federal authorities say.

Kenton Maurice Taylor, 45, faces 10 years to life in prison when he’s sentenced for the conviction on March 16, 2016.

Federal authorities say Taylor was the leader, or “prince,” of the Black P Stone Nation gang in the Lansing area.

Investigators say Taylor conspired with at least three other gang members to move and distribute heroin from Chicago into the Lansing area following his release from prison in late 2012.  Taylor served a five-year prison term for cocaine distribution, and after his 2012 release, prosecutors say, he returned to the Lansing area and shifted the gang’s attention towards heroin trafficking.

Prosecutors say Taylor and his co-defendants, Karl Alphonso Lockridge, Maurice Ray, Jr., and Eric Darnell Cooper, traveled to Chicago on a monthly basis to obtain heroin from their supply sources for distribution in the Lansing area.

All four of the gang members were charged with conspiracy to distribute in excess of 100 grams of heroin in the case.  Lockridge, Ray, and Cooper all pleaded guilty to charges prior to trial.  Taylor went to trial and was convicted by a federal jury this month.  The co-defendants in the case will be sentenced in February and March of next year for their crimes.

Federal authorities say the Black P Stone Nation gang originally formed in the Chicago area in the 1950s and 1960s under founder Jeff Fort.

Fort is currently serving a prison sentence of more than 150 years after conspiring with Libya to perform acts of domestic terrorism and for ordering the murder of a rival gang leader.

The Black P Stone Nation gang is estimated to have more than 30,000 members across the United States, federal authorities say.