Obama Commutes Prison Term for ‘New Jack City’ Crack Dealer
Working for a kingpin who terrorized Chicago Heights, Artrez Nyroby Seymour sold crack outside a school for years. He’ll be free on Sept. 2.
By DENNIS ROBAUGH (Patch National Staff) – May 6, 2016 12:26 am ET
President Obama on Thursday commuted the prison sentence of a man who was part of a crack-dealing gang that terrorized Chicago Heights, led by a kingpin who modeled himself after the Wesley Snipes character in the 1991 movie “New Jack City.”
Known as “the Organization,” the gang ran a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week crack distribution center throughout the 1990s in the Claude Court Housing Complex right across from Gavin Elementary School. The children were never allowed outside, according to federal authorities, to shield them from the armed dealers who lurked nearby.
Artrez Nyroby Seymour, 21 at the time of his arrest, was one of 29 associates snared and convicted in a joint crackdown by the DEA and Chicago Heights police in 2002.
Seymour began working in the gang at 18, according to federal prosecutors. “As a packman, Nyroby was at the sales location and had first-hand knowledge of the amount of crack being sold,” according to the federal complaint. The packman would take the money in exchange for the drugs. Seymour later moved up to security for the ring.
The man at the center of the operation, Troy Lawrence, aka “Nino Brown” and “the Don,” was sentenced to life in prison. He was raking in $10,000 to $20,000 a day slinging crack at $10 a bag in the Heights.
After the “Operation New Jack City” bust — the largest in Chicago Heights history — Police Chief Robert F. Pinnow Jr. said: “Today is a proud day.”
Seymour, a Chicago Heights resident, pleaded guilty to narcotics conspiracy. In 2005, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release. In March, his sentence was reduced to 20 years. U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer was swayed by a letter of apology Seymour wrote from prison in 2015, acknowledging his “monumental mistakes and horrible choices.”