(VitalNews.org) – Israel Garcia, 32, has been convicted of multiple crimes including the murder of a rival gang member in 2010. The disgraced former high school dean faces life behind bars after his secret life as leader of a violent, drug-trafficking gang was uncovered by years of police investigation. While working as a dean for the New Visions Charter High School, he used his cover as a respected member of the faculty to distract from his criminal activity.
Garcia, also known as “Shorty Rock”, headed up the “Get Money Gunnaz” section of the “Young Gunnaz” gang in the Bronx, New York City. During his decade-long double life, Garcia and his armed gang-controlled drug selling in the East 184th Street and Morris Avenue area of Fordham Heights. In order to maintain their grip on the illicit trade, they would often engage in acts of violence, including gunfights with rival gangs. It was during one of these shootouts that Garcia shot and killed rival Alphonso “Joey” McClinton on October 11, 2010.
Garcia’s fellow gang member Joseph “Juice” Johnson was soon convicted for the shooting, but investigators were certain that a second shooter had been involved. Garcia did his best to elude justice. According to prosecutors, he even tried to ensure Johnson would not name him. They did not specify what methods he employed to ensure the convicted man’s silence. Despite his efforts, prosecutors were able to establish Garcia’s guilt using witness testimony, ballistics evidence, and even video evidence.
Garcia now faces life imprisonment for his string of offenses, including murder, various narcotics charges, and attempting to tamper with evidence. Garcia and his family set up a fundraising account prior to his conviction in which he pled his innocence and claimed to be the victim of an unjust system. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, however, described Garcia as a man who spearheaded a gang’s “reign of terror” over a community, damaging it with violence and dangerous drugs, including cocaine and fentanyl.
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