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The State

May 14, 1986

The reputed leader of the violent Funktown, USA drug gang was sentenced in Oakland to 17 years in federal prison after declining a judge's offer to plead for leniency. "My mouth got me here," Harvey Whisenton told U.S. District Judge Thomas Henderson. "I ain't saying nothing." Henderson then sentenced Whisenton to prison for selling about $80,000 worth of cocaine and heroin to undercover federal agents last year at an East Oakland auto body shop. Two lieutenants in the Funktown gang, Michael Whitethurst, 24, and Kevin Johnson, 21, received prison terms of five and three years, respectively. Two others await sentencing. All pleaded guilty. Their lawyers claimed that the five had been driven to a life of crime because of their ghetto upbringing. Henderson rejected the arguments, saying, "I find it ironic that the same black community that you and your counselors say spawned you is also the black community that you and your colleagues terrorized and victimized."

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