Philadelphia Man Sentenced to Life in Prison Plus 207 Years for Gang Crime Spree

The 35-year-old Philadelphia ringleader of a violent criminal gang was sentenced to life in prison plus 207 years in federal court on Monday. Khalil Smith was found guilty last year for committing multiple home invasion robberies, kidnapping and torturing his victims, impersonating a police officer and drug and weapon violations. 

Smith and his crew wore disguises during their robberies, including “police uniforms, police badges, bullet proof vests marked with the word ‘Police,’ wigs, glasses, masks, gloves, and facial makeup,” according to court records. The crew was made up of 20 people, who tracked their victims with GPS devices and evaded law enforcement by using police scanners and walkie-talkies.

 “Motivated by his desire for drugs, money, and power, Khalil Smith was a ringleader of a ruthless, violent gang,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “This crew resorted to torture, extreme violence, intimidation, and even impersonation of law enforcement to dominate their victims and terrorize our community. Because of the dedicated work of prosecutors and law enforcement working this case, Smith will now spend the rest of his life where he belongs – in a prison cell.”

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On Sept. 3, 2012, Smith and a number of accomplices broke into a Philadelphia home, held a family at gunpoint and stole a quarter ounce of cocaine and $1,980. On July 15, 2013, Smith participated in a failed robbery attempt at a Philadelphia jewelers, in which he and his gang — dressed as customers wigs and as police officers — fled the scene as soon as an employee raised the alarm. Smith carried out a number of home invasions between November 2013 and the following January by tracking his intended victims by placing GPS units on their cars. On April 16, 2014, Smith and his gang carried out a vicious home invasion, followed by another on April 24, where a victim was shot.

Their goal, according to the Justice Department, was to “steal drugs, drug proceeds, and other items of value, or obtain ransom for the release of their kidnapping victims… They shot and threatened to shoot their victims and physically restrained them with handcuffs, zip ties, electrical cords, and shoelaces and held them captive, at times, for several hours.  They even went so far as to waterboard and pour boiling water on the genitals of some of their victims.”

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Donald Robinson, special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the sentence was a victory for the people of Philadelphia.

“This sentence sends a very strong message to these home invasion crews that are preying on our communities,” Robinson said. “We appreciate the cooperation of our federal, state and local partners to this bring this case to a successful conclusion.”

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Multimedia journalist James Cullum has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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