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Ex-Little Rock gang leader gets 15-year term

Federal case involved pot, firearm by Dale Ellis | May 29, 2021 at 8:17 a.m.
court gavel

A former Little Rock gang leader of the Wolfe Street Crips has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for his role in a marijuana conspiracy as well as possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office in Little Rock, U.S. District Judge Kristine G. Baker on Thursday sentenced Machita "Frog" Mitchell Jr. to 180 months imprisonment to be followed by three years supervised release.

Mitchell, 45, also faces state charges of capital murder and aggravated robbery stemming from the July 2017 shooting death of 14-year-old Cyncere Alexander, known to friends and associates as "Lil Badass," three weeks after more than two dozen people were injured in a late-night shootout during a rap concert at the Power Ultra Lounge in downtown Little Rock.

Mitchell was federally charged in January 2018 with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In exchange for his October 2019 plea to the conspiracy and the firearm charge, the possession charge was dismissed.

In February 2016, Mitchell was accused of making threats to kill two individuals and brandishing a firearm. Testimony from a Little Rock detective indicated that Mitchell had made these threats over allegations that someone had stolen cash and marijuana. Mitchell was charged and arrested, and further investigation revealed he had bribed the two individuals that he had threatened to drop their complaints against him in exchange for cash.

Although Mitchell was jailed on marijuana trafficking charges at the time of Alexander's murder, recorded phone conversations from the Pulaski County jail between Mitchell and a co-defendant in the murder case, Kenwan Sherrod, implicated both men in the teen's killing. A third man, Keterrioun Chandler, is also charged.

In November 2019, Tyler Clay Jackson, accused of being the trigger-man in Alexander's slaying, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and robbery in Pulaski County Circuit Court in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence. Jackson is also accused of firing the first shot inside the Power Ultra Lounge on July 1, 2017, which police have said was the result of a gang dispute.

Information for this article was contributed by John Lynch of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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