A leader of a violent New Haven, Connecticut, drug gang believed to be responsible for a half dozen murders and drug distribution as far away as Maine faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to drug dealing, money laundering, murder and other crimes.

Keith Young, 27, of Hamden, Connecticut — who used the street names “Capo,” “Bapo” and “Pancho” — was one of the leaders of a gang called Red Side Guerilla Brims, which was associated with the Bloods street gang.

Young and five other gang members are accused in a 34-count racketeering indictment of distributing crack cocaine, laundering drug profits and protecting the business with six murders, as well as a variety of assaults, robberies, gun crimes and other acts of violence. Young is accused of being present at two of the six murders.

Over four months in 2011, Young and others in the gang are accused of laundering more than $10,000 in profits derived from the sale of crack cocaine in the Bangor, Maine area. The gang also is accused of trading drugs for guns in Maine.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s outspoken criticism of drug trafficking in Maine by out-of-state gangs like the Red Side Guerilla Brims attracted attention across the country last year. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the American Civil Liberties Union suggested LePage was a racist when he complained that black and Hispanic drug dealers from places like Waterbury and New York City and with names such as “D-Money, Smoothie and Shifty” were poisoning his state.

Not long before LePage’s remark, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency seized 2 pounds of heroin from a Waterbury man who had driven it into Maine and tried to escape by ramming his car into a van carrying police officers. It was believed to have been the largest heroin seizure ever in Maine at the time.

“They come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home,” LePage said last summer, after a New York businessman accused him at a public forum of creating a racist climate. “Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing, because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

LePage’s comments were reported by the The Portland Press Herald, which also said LePage based his assertions on drug arrests tracked by his office and kept in a dossier.

“I don’t ask them to come to Maine and sell their poison, but they come, and I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ringed binder, are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Conn., the Bronx and Brooklyn,” the newspaper reported LePage as saying.

U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly said the Red Side Guerilla Brims used the guns they obtained in Maine to arm gang members in New Haven.

“The Red Side Guerilla Brims wreaked havoc from New Haven to Bangor, Maine,” Daly said. “Members were not only responsible for multiple murders and non-fatal shootings locally, they trafficked drugs and firearms from one end of New England to the other.”

Young pleaded guilty Monday to one count of engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity, which, because it involves the commission of murder, carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. He also pleaded guilty to one count of laundering Maine drug profits, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

You could be sentenced to between 30 years and life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 8.

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