Felon is jailed on gun possession charges


A federal judge in Baltimore yesterday sentenced the reputed leader of the Bloods gang in Harford County to more than five years in prison for gun possession.

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Eric Nikwan Barnett, 26, of Edgewood, to 80 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for possession of a firearm by a felon.

It was illegal for Barnett to have the gun because he had been convicted earlier on a state charge of possession of illegal drugs with intent to distribute.

At yesterday's hearing, prosecutors said Barnett was the organizer and a principal leader of a Harford chapter of the Bloods street gang in the fall of 2003. An investigator from the Harford County Sheriff's Department testified yesterday about several violent acts committed by gang members in the county between 2003 and 2005. In the past few years, county police have said, the Bloods sent "generals" from New York to take control and organize the local drug trade.

In Baltimore, police have taken surveillance photos of Bloods-related graffiti and spotted members wearing the solidarity color, red. They have also seen gang tattoos, including OTM, for the Bloods' gang phrase "Out That Mob" and MOB for "Member Of Bloods."

One Bloods leader was convicted last year of orchestrating the firebombing of a Harwood community leader's home in North Baltimore.

Court documents presented when Barnett pleaded guilty said that two Glock .40 caliber handguns were stolen in October 2003.

One of the guns was found by police in January 2004 at an apartment on Edgewater Drive where Barnett lived with his girlfriend.

Police also recovered drugs packaged for distribution.


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