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MAHONING COUNTY Judge sentences 2 Playas members



Published: Sat, February 9, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The judge imposed a year more than the sentence recommended in a plea deal.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Two more members of the Ayers Street Playas gang were in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court this week.

That brings to 11 the number of gang members who have either pleaded guilty or been convicted, said Assistant Prosecutor Robert Duffrin. Three still have cases pending.

Sean Rushton, 30, of Wilson Avenue, pleaded guilty Friday to engaging in criminal gang activity. Judge Maureen A. Cronin sentenced him to three years in prison, with credit given for time he's spent in the county jail since Dec. 5.

Defense attorney Anthony P. Meranto had asked for the minimum sentence of two years, which was recommended in a plea agreement with prosecutors. Rushton could have been sentenced to up to eight years, had Judge Cronin felt the maximum term was appropriate.

Dismissed charge: A charge of cocaine trafficking was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Rushton's brother, Marvin Rushton II, 33, of Williamson Avenue, was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison. In November, he pleaded no contest to the gang activity charge and guilty to cocaine trafficking.

Judge Cronin said Sean Rushton's sentence was longer because he'd violated terms of his bond while awaiting disposition of his case. He was arrested on drug charges in Pennsylvania.

Authorities say the Ayers Street Playas controlled drug activity in an East Side neighborhood known to drug dealers as La La Land.

Fourteen members of the gang were indicted in March on charges of engaging in a pattern of gang activity and cocaine trafficking. Two were convicted at a trial in October and were sentenced to prison, and nine have pleaded guilty.

bjackson@vindy.com




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