Man described as ‘Gravy Train’ ringleader gets prison time

Shaka Williams
Shaka Williams
Updated: Jun. 21, 2019 at 1:52 PM EDT
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CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - A man described as a drug kingpin, who later filed a $4.5 million lien against a county judge, was sentenced in St. Lawrence County Court Friday.

Shaka Williams was sentenced to up to 9 years years in prison for conspiring to distribute drugs and 8 years in prison for possession of a controlled substance. The sentences will be served concurrently.

Those charges were brought when Williams was swept up in the St. Lawrence County drug raid known as “Operation Gravy Train” two years ago. Williams was alleged to have supplied drugs to St. Lawrence County dealers from his home in Chenango County.

He was also sentenced to 2-to-4 years in prison for filing a false instrument. That sentence will also be concurrent with the others. The false instrument was a $4.5 million commercial lien Williams filed against County Court Judge Jerome Richards while awaiting trial.

The sentence was meted out by Franklin County Court Judge Robert Main Jr., who took over the case after Williams was charged with filing a false lien.

Williams, who was described as a Gravy Train ringleader, pleaded guilty to felonies half-way through his bench trial in February.

The Plymouth, New York man pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

In addition, he pleaded guilty in connection with a separate crime that has been described as “paper terrorism.” Williams was accused of filing fraudulent liens for $4.5 million against St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome Richards as a form of revenge.

Williams pleaded guilty to a felony count of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing in that case.

“Operation Gravy Train” was heavily focused on heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine trafficking to St. Lawrence County. Raids in June of 2017 resulted in 169 charges against 106 people. Officials praised the effort, saying it closed off a major drug pipeline into the north country.

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