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A.K.A.: "Uzi"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Jamaican drug dealer - Leader gang "The Rankers"
Number of victims: 6 +
Date of murders: 1985 - 1988
Date of arrest: March 9, 1988
Date of birth: 1959
Victims profile: Men (rival dealers and employees)
Method of murder: Shooting - Beating with baseball bat
Location: New York/Washington, D.C./Maryland/Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to seven consecutive life terms in Federal prison December 1, 1989

A Drug Dealer Gets a Sentence Of 7 Life Terms

By Leonard Buder - The New York Times

Saturday, December 2, 1989

A 30-year-old drug dealer who ran one of the largest and most violent drug rings in Brooklyn and was responsible for 6 murders, 17 assaults, a kidnapping, a maiming and other crimes, was sentenced yesterday to seven consecutive life terms in Federal prison.

As the defendant, Delroy (Uzi) Edwards, stood in Federal District Court with his hands clasped and his head slightly bowed, Judge Raymond J. Dearie said he wished the sentencing could have been on a Brooklyn street, so young people could ''see what this fast-lane life style has to offer.''

Mr. Edwards, a Jamaican who lives in Brooklyn, was the first dealer to sell crack, the smokable cocaine derivative, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area, in 1985, law-enforcement authorities have said. They said he received his nickname because he sometimes concealed an Uzi submachine gun under a trench coat.

After a plea from Mr. Edwards's court-appointed lawyer, David Gordon, to impose a sentence that would offer the defendant hope ''down the road,'' Judge Dearie said: ''I hope he finds a way to make something of his life. But I believe in my heart that the theme of this proceeding has to be, 'Thou shall not kill.' '' Not Eligible for Parole

Under the sentence, which calls for 15 years in prison besides the life sentences, and a $1 million fine, Mr. Edwards will not be eligible for parole.

Mr. Edwards, who wore a gray business suit, said nothing. His appearance and demeanor yesterday, as well as at the trial last summer, was in sharp contrast to a picture painted by the prosecutors, John Gleeson and Jonny J. Frank.

At the trial, they had depicted Mr. Edwards as a ''coldhearted, brutal, vicious killer'' who dealt harshly with rival dealers and employees he suspected of stealing from him and, in the process, was often responsible for the deaths or injuries of innocent people ''who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.'' He was convicted on 42 counts.

After Mr. Gordon had asked Judge Dearie to hold out the possibility of a parole, Mr. Gleeson told the court: ''He's been convicted of the most serious drug offenses. It's the whole smorgasboard of crimes that can be brought in this context. No country deserves the risk of his ever being on the streets.''

Before imposing sentence, Judge Dearie said Mr. Edwards has intelligence, street smarts and leadership qualities and could have made something of his life. Instead, the judge said, Mr. Edwards chose ''this joy ride, this flashy come-and-get-me life style'' that left in its trail many victims.

The judge added that in a sense, Mr. Edwards was one of his own victims and that as he pursued his illicit career, he ''became one of the pioneers of the crack trade.''

Mr. Edwards, who has been in jail since March 1988, still faces a state murder charge in a homicide in 1987.

Delroy (Uzi) Edwards, described as the leader of one of Brooklyn's largest and most violent drug rings, who has been sentenced to seven consecutive life terms.


Crack's destructive sprint across America

The New York Times

October 1, 1989

Delroy Edwards grew up poor in the tough, stifling shantytowns of Kingston, Jamaica. In 1980, at the age of 20, he went to work as a street enforcer for the Jamaica Labor Party of Edward Seaga. Seaga was locked in a bitter election duel with the People's National Party, headed by Michael Manley, and each side was forming armed gangs to intimidate the other.

The gangs did their job only too well, killing 800 people by election day. After his victory, Seaga launched a crackdown, and many gang members, feeling the heat, headed for the United States. Among them was Delroy Edwards. Slipping into Brooklyn on a tourist visa, he eventually made his way into the marijuana business, selling nickel bags out of a neighborhood storefront.

At the beginning of 1985, Edwards learned to make crack. Soon he was selling little else. He worked out of two ''flagship'' spots in Brooklyn - one, a two-story house, the other, an abandoned brownstone near a housing project. Enough poor blacks coughed up enough $5 bills to enable Edwards to buy a $150,000 home on Long Island - and to pay for it in cash.

That wasn't enough for Edwards, who began looking to expand his business. Unfortunately, New York was already crowded with crack dealers; outside the city, however, lay plenty of virgin territory. In Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, for instance, crack was just beginning to catch on. Enterprising local dealers would travel to New York, buy a few ounces of cocaine, return home, convert it into crack, and sell the product for three or four times the New York street price.

In the fall of 1986, Edwards traveled to Washington and set up shop; by the following spring his lieutenants had established thriving businesses in Philadelphia and Baltimore as well. At its peak, Edwards's organization, known as the Rankers, employed 50 workers and made up to $100,000 a day.

The glory days did not last. Edwards - nicknamed ''Uzi'' for his taste in weapons -was pathologically violent. People who crossed him were pistol-whipped, beaten with baseball bats, shot in the legs. One 16-year-old worker, suspected of cheating, was beaten unconscious with bats, scalded with boiling water, and suspended by a chain from the ceiling until he died.

Eventually, the police caught up with Edwards, and in July a Brooklyn jury convicted him on 42 counts of murder, assault, kidnapping and drug dealing. Edwards is now awaiting sentencing. The Rankers have disintegrated.

But there are 40 other groups just like the Rankers, running crack out of New York and Miami to points across the country. Posses, they're called, after their members' affection for American westerns (and the guns used in them). Most, like the Rankers, took shape as gangs during the 1980 Jamaican election, then fled to the United States and regrouped. Here, their 10,000 to 20,000 members, organized in posses with as few as 25 members and as many as several hundred, keep incessantly on the move, slipping in and out of the many Jamaican communities scattered across the country.

To maintain loyalty, each posse generally restricts membership to the residents of a particular neighborhood in Kingston. Posse members travel with fake IDs, making it tough for policemen to identify them. Sometimes, as a cover, they attach themselves to reggae groups touring the country. Today, Jamaicans are believed to control 35 percent to 40 percent of the nation's crack network.

''They're very good businessmen,'' says John A. O'Brien, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (B.A.T.F.), the Federal agency that most closely monitors the posses. ''They follow the law of supply and demand. When they see that a vial of crack selling for $5 in New York will get $15 in Kansas City, they'll move in.''

New York is their ''training school,'' O'Brien says, ''like going to Wharton. They'll take a guy doing a good job in Harlem and send him to open an office in the Midwest.'' On his arrival in the new area, the posse sales rep will rent a motel room and conduct a market survey of sorts to determine the most lucrative spot in town. Then he'll rent an apartment or, better yet, get a single female to lend him one in return for crack.


Delroy "Uzi" Edwards is a gang and drug lord, leader of the Renkers. In his late twenties, and handsome. "His eyes had already acquired the faraway, affectless gaze of someone used to killing." He was short and stocky, fit as a fiddle, "with a body bulked up from lifting weights".

Delroy's "Uzi" Edwards had earned his nickname from the gun he favoured "when he was a political mercenary for Seaga, in Kingston." The party, JLP, "hired him for a princely ten dollars a week during the 1980 election to shoot the PNP, [Manley's party] out of Southside, part of the neighbourhood that was Michael Manley's own constituency."

Ten dollars a week to produce mayhem! But it happened. And is happening.

"Uzi" himself relates that he had named his political gang and drug posse Renkers. "It means stinky" said he with a puckish grin. "Its like the smell when you piss against a wall." Probably it is the smell of a system that has persisted too long.

Now we come to the actual violence. Do not say you have no stomach for it, dear reader. It is all around us. And in one way or another, by omission or commission, and however insulated we are from it, however indifferent or holier than thou we feel, we are part of the problem. Truth insists that I cannot say otherwise, much as I would like to.

So Delroy "Uzi" Edwards head of the drug posse has decided to put a gang member , Norman Allwood, to death. The Renkers cleared as much as fifty thousand dollars on a good day, with a cut rate price on crack, "two-vials-for-the-price-of-one." Besides being entrepreneurs of death, they have good sales-pitch and marketing skills, you will agree.

At seventeen Norman Allwood was the Renkers youngest "soldier". He could be your son or mine. However he had been nothing but a liability to the Renkers don. Shorting "Uzi" on money and stealing crack from the Renkers stash. A few weeks before, Norman Allwood, had failed to deliver four hundred U.S. dollars he owed and "Uzi" shot him in the leg, a favourite punishment, as a warning.

Now Norman Allwood has done it again. Stolen crack. He is to feel Uzi's wrath.

"They say it takes more heart to beat somebody than to stab or shoot them" said Conroy Green one of the Renkers members, as he mused as to why Uzi chose to discipline Allwood the way he did. "I guess it is easier to pull the trigger of a gun."

So the Renkers lit into Allwood and beat him unconscious. When he came to and began to whimper and writhe, Kenneth Manning got vexed. Blasted vex. Manning was in his fifties, the oldest man in the posse and a relative to Uzi. He walked over, got some scalding hot water and poured it all over Allwood. "Manning was kind of you know ---- laughing". Allwood, the kid, the crack stealing kid, his skin started to strip as the scalding water boiled him. He moved. "Oh you not dead yet?" said Manning. He was laughing at him in his death throes. After that they left him hanging, chained to a beam. "He died sometime during the night."

Make no mistake about it. There is at work in this the cold, conscience-unaffected terror, of the natural born killer. Killing is a laughing sport. And it is not just the younger generation. The Renkers are made up, of you and I, from 17 to 50. It is to this we have come 35 years after Independence! It is a reality that will not go away until displaced and replaced.

Fan the Flame by Leonard Tim Hector



MO: Sadistic Jamaican drug dealer; alleged to be first dealer of "crack" cocaine in USA.

DISPOSITION: seven consecutiva life terms + 15 years, 1989, on 42 counts including six murders.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers



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