Prosecutors say both the killer and the victim in a February 2020 Kingston homicide were gang members

Corey Q. Smith, accused killer of Ashley Dixon.

Prosecutors say Ashley Dixon, 31, a member of the Sex Money Murder street gang, was lured from his Kingston home on February 11, 2020 by Corey Q. Smith, a member of G-Shine, a gang that, like Sex Money Murder, is a subset of the Bloods. Smith, 36, who grew up in Kingston but lived in the Bronx, called Dixon and arranged a meeting at Stuyvesant Charter Apartments.

Witnesses told police that the men got into an argument and Smith shot Dixon three times at close range. He died shortly afterward at a nearby hospital. Smith was arrested in New York City the next day and has been indicted for murder in the second degree. The upcoming trial has brought new focus onto Sex Money Murder, a gang that became entrenched in Kingston in the early 1990s.

Started by teenage crack dealer “Pistol” Pete Rollack in the Soundview Houses in the Bronx in the 1980s, Sex Money Murder became a subset of the East Coast Bloods at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. Kevin “Bemo” Aller came to Kingston to establish a crack-selling Sex Money Murder franchise in 1992. According to journalist Jonathan Green’s 2018 book “Sex Murder Money: A Story of Crack, Blood and Betrayal,” Bemo recruited youngsters “with free bicycles and candy while intimidating any rivals with violence. Kingston had quickly earned a reputation for hustlers to flip a small stake, an ounce or so, and double their money.”

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Economically devastated cities like Springfield, Massachusetts, Buffalo and Kingston were fertile territory for gangs. With high unemployment, they provided people looking to make a buck and customers needing to dull their pain. Sex Money Murder thrived where there was distrust of the police. The gangsters were armed and threatening, ensuring no one snitched. When one resident of the Bronx talked to the cops, she found a dead rat at her door. Sex Money Murder exported not only drugs, but Blood gang culture as well.

Green spent almost every day of five years with Sex Murder Money gang leaders. He told Hudson Valley One he was always amazed at how ready they were to shoot. “So much gang culture is based on respect. The slightest personal affront can lead to violence really fast. In the mafia, most murders are done for money or power. With groups like Sex Money Murder, beefs are over almost nothing. They often turn on each other.”

Bemo was the first Sex Money Murder gangster to kill someone but soon murders were commonplace. Pistol Pete was only 24 when he was locked up for involvement in five killings. Federal prosecutors became convinced that he ordered two men killed from his prison cell at an neighborhood Thanksgiving Day football game in the Bronx in 1997 to prevent a Sex Money Murder gangster from testifying against him. This rattled other gang members and a young hood shot Bemo nine times in the legs in payback, assuming he’d been involved. When Bemo returned to Kingston in a wheelchair to recuperate, he was robbed. Green writes, “The thieves even took his sneakers. When he was picked up by Kingston cops on a drug-dealing warrant, he bemoaned the lack of respect among the new generation of gangsters. ‘These kids are wilding out,’ he complained.”

By 2010, Sex Money Murder’s pattern of violence went public in Kingston. 21-year old Charles “C.J.” King was gunned down in broad daylight on Cedar Street in Midtown Kingston. King was killed to prevent him from testifying that he’d witnessed a Sex Money Murder gangster shoot a Crip, a member of a rival gang. Five men went to prison for planning and executing King’s murder.

Kevin “Bemo” Aller is serving a sentence of 50 years, without parole, for two murders, racketeering and drug trafficking. The waning of the crack epidemic and a series of federal prosecutions have diminished Sex Money Murder’s presence in New York City. But Sex Money Murder is still active in smaller cities like Atlanta, Newark and Kingston, dealing dangerously addictive drugs – crack, ecstasy, heroin and fentanyl.

Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa says the entire Hudson Valley is experiencing a renaissance of violent, post-pandemic gang activity. “People are getting out and settling scores,” not just Bloods, but also motorcycle gangs. He says affiliates of the Hell’s Angels and Pagans are fighting over turf. The transnational 18th Street Central American gang is also reported to have a foothold in Ulster County.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Gerard Van Loan, who is prosecuting Corey Smith, says “our evidence is strong” that he is a gang member. At Smith’s pretrial hearing, his attorney William T. Martin sought to convince the judge to exclude evidence of any gang affiliation should his client testify at trial. He told us the prosecutor is using Smith’s alleged gang membership to sensationalize a homicide case. Martin pointed out the shooting occurred outside Smith’s mother’s home. “Who kills someone at his mother’s front door?”

Smith has pleaded not guilty. He will stand trial in Ulster County Court in September, when Van Loan says the prosecution will reveal a motive for the murder.

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