BUFFALO, N.Y. — Two members of the Fruit Belt Gang each face up to 10 years in prison after they pleaded guilty to gun charges in federal court.
Antwaine Parker, 28, and Michael Woods, 32, both of Buffalo, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force has been investigating the Fruit Belt Gang for alleged drug distribution, gun crimes, and gang activity.
Investigators believe members of the Fruit Belt Gang were involved with the murder of Central Park Gang member Shariff Jackson on July 1, 2020.
On July 4, 2020, both Parker and Woods were shot on Sycamore Avenue in Buffalo. Authorities say Woods was shot in the head and spine. They allege he threw a gun from the scene before driving himself to the hospital.
Woods told investigators he was driving in the area with an unnamed person when he was shot but wouldn't give them any other information.
Investigators think the shooting may have been the result of rival gang activity between the Fruit Belt and Central Park gangs.
A 9mm handgun was recovered from the roof of a nearby building.
Then in July 2020, the U.S. Attorney's Office says Woods and Parker posted photos of them with guns on social media.
Also in July 2020, investigators conducted surveillance of Woods and Parker. During a traffic stop, Woods told a Buffalo Police officer that he had two guns in his vehicle and consented to a search of his vehicle. Woods was arrested and the guns were seized.
Parker was also later stopped. His car had invalid license plates and was impounded. He was ticketed for multiple vehicle and traffic violations.
Investigators also searched an apartment at 28 Burnie Lane in the McCarley Gardens Apartments and found two guns that were the same weapons in the photos Parker had posted on social media.
Both defendants are legally prohibited from carrying a gun due to previous convictions.
In April 2014, Parker was convicted in state court of Criminal Possession of a Weapon. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison.
In March 2012, Woods was convicted in state court of Attempted Criminal Possession of Controlled Substances and sentenced to five years probation.
Woods was also sentenced to 84 months in prison in July 2015 after he was convicted of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Both Woods and Parker are scheduled to be sentenced on August 3, 2021 before Judge Sinatra.