HUDSON — A Hudson man was sentenced for his role in a crack-cocaine distribution ring that was at the center of a summer of violence in Hudson in 2017, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
William Morrison, 32, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Albany to 10 years in prison for his involvement in a crack cocaine distribution ring that operated in Columbia County.
Morrison, also known by his street name “Whoody,” admitted in federal court that he was part of a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine in Columbia County between August and December 2017.
Morrison and his four associates sold at least 464 grams of crack cocaine in that time period.
The crack cocaine was sold in Columbia County. Members of the drug ring would bring hundreds of grams of powdered cocaine from New York City each week and convert it to crack cocaine in Hudson before selling it, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy ordered that Morrison’s sentence follow a three-year prison term he is serving for violating supervised release conditions imposed as part of a 2011 federal drug conviction.
McAvoy also imposed a five-year term of supervised release starting once Morrison is out of prison.
The crime carries a maximum term of life imprisonment and a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine up to $10 million. The U.S. Attorney’s office requested a term of imprisonment of 12 and a half years and supervised release of 10 years.
“The defendant was an integral member of a violent drug trafficking organization that distributed large quantities of crack cocaine,” according to the sentencing recommendation from Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne A. Myers. “That organization was involved in a series of high-profile shootings in Hudson that terrorized local citizens and businesses over the course of several months. Because of that violence, two young toddlers were shot, a man was killed and numerous others injured.
“The defendant was at the heart of that violence in 2017; he was shot in his buttocks during a drug-related shootout,” Myers said.
Morrison and others implicated in the drug ring have never been directly charged in connection with the 2017 Hudson shootings.
Morrison has a criminal history that spans several years.
“The defendant’s criminal history and behavior in this case, demonstrates that he is, at bottom, an unrepentant violent armed criminal and drug dealer with no interest in leading a law-abiding life or respect the safety of those around him,” according to the sentencing memorandum signed by the U.S. Attorney.
In 2009, Morrison tried to flee from Hudson police officers called to the scene answering a call about a man threatening someone with a gun. A high-speed chase ensued through Hudson “that jeopardized the lives of police and innocents,” according to court papers. Morrison crashed the vehicle into a police car before he was apprehended. He was found with drugs in his possession.
In 2010, Morrison hit a man in the back of a head with a beer bottle and punched the man in the face, while Morrison’s accomplice held the victim down so he could not defend himself, according to court records. Prosecutors called the incident a “cowardly act of violence.”
While on supervised release for a federal drug crime in 2017, Morrison was found in possession of a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun at the CityScapes Gentleman’s Club, 55-61 58 St. on Nov. 3, 2017, according to the New York Police Department. Morrison got into a physical altercation outside a strip club with NYPD officers. In the struggle, which involved Morrison punching and kicking police officers while resisting arrest, he dropped the stolen, fully-loaded handgun he was trying to bring into the strip club, according to the U.S. attorney’s letter to the judge.
“In addition to all of this shockingly bad conduct, the defendant is an absentee father, a habitual drug user, a drunk and general community menace who routinely drives drunk, without a license, ignores child support orders, and flouts police instruction, probation officers and court orders,” according to the sentencing memorandum.
The case was investigated by the state police Special Investigations Unit in Albany, the FBI and the Hudson Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Myers and Joshua R. Rosenthal.
The sentencing announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Keith M. Corlett, superintendent of the New York State Police; James N. Hendricks, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Albany Field Office; and Chief L. Edward Moore of the Hudson Police Department.
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