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Trial Set to Begin in Harlem Gun and Drug Gang Case

By DNAinfo Staff on September 20, 2011 6:54am

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — Five alleged gang members charged with running a violent crack and gun dealing operation and terrorizing a 137th Street block will stand trial this week with opening statements slated for Tuesday morning.

The alleged members of "2 Mafia Family," also known as "2MF," and "Goons on Deck" were arrested as part of a sweep on Feb. 16, 2011 and charged with conspiracy, weapons possession and other charges.

Several of the original 14 who were charged have already pleaded guilty or entered into plea deals, including 17-year-old Afrika Owes who was charged with running guns for her then-boyfriend Jaquan Layne, 21, the alleged leader of the group.

Prosecutors said Layne was recorded giving instructions to Owes and other members of his crews from Rikers Island. Layne is one of the five who will stand trial beginning tomorrow in Manhattan Supreme Court before Justice Edward McLaughlin.

The jury trial is expected to last several weeks. Because of the seriousness of the conspiracy charges, some of those on trial face up to life in prison, while others face 25 years.