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McGriff (right) and rapper Ja Rule, 1999.
McGriff came to prominence in early 1981 when he formed his own Crack cocaine-distributing and manufacturing organization which he called The Supreme Team based in South Jamaica, Queens, New York City, New York. Under McGriff's leadership, the gang's numbers swelled to the hundreds and came to control the Crack Cocaine trade in the Baisley Park, the neighborhood where McGriff was raised. In 1987, McGriff was arrested following a joint state and federal investigation and in 1989 pleaded guilty to engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise. He was sentenced to 12 years' incarceration. McGriff was released from prison on parole in early 1994 after serving approximately seven years of his sentence. He was sent back to prison on parole violations by year's end, and served another 2½ years' incarceration before being released in 1997.
Friendship with Murder Inc.
After being released from prison on parole in 1994, McGriff tried his hand at cinematography, seeking help from Irv Gotti to film a movie based on the Kenyatta series' novel Crime Partners. However, due to McGriff's reputation, the FBI soon questioned the intimacies of the affiliation with Murder Inc., culminating in a raid of the Murder Inc. offices in early 2003, with accusations of drug trafficking on Kenneth McGriff, while Murder Inc. was indicted on counts of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Other criminal activities
McGriff is alleged to have had a hand in the 2002 murder of Run-DMC member Jam Master Jay, and was convicted of ordering the 2001 killing of rapper Eric "E-Moneybags" Smith, in retaliation for the shooting of McGriff's associate Colbert "Black Just" Johnson. Federal authorities also accused him in connection with the attempted murder of 50 Cent.
On February 1, 2007, McGriff was convicted of murder-for-hire at a federal court in the Eastern District of New York on charges that he paid $50,000 to have two rivals (Eric "E-Moneybags" Smith and "Big Nose" Troy Singleton) gunned down in 2001. The jury deliberated for five days before finding McGriff guilty of murder conspiracy and drug trafficking. On February 9, 2007, McGriff was sentenced to life in prison. Throughout this case he was defended by a court-appointed attorney because nearly all of his assets had been seized.
McGriff began serving his life sentence at ADX Florence, the federal supermax prison in Colorado, but in 2011, was transferred to the United States Penitentiary, Lee, a high-security federal prison in Pennington Gap, Virginia.
- "FBI Raids The Murder Inc. offices".
- Rashbaum, William K. (February 2, 2007). "Man Convicted in 2 Killings; U.S. to Pursue the Death Penalty". The New York Times.
- "Feds Lay Out Alleged 50 Cent Plot". CBS News. September 7, 2005.
- "Hip-Hop Drug Lord Kenneth 'Supreme' McGriff Gets Life Without Parole for Slayings". Fox News. February 9, 2007.
- A blog "open to invited readers only"
- McGriff's entry at the US Bureau of Prisons