PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced today that Khalil Smith a/k/a “Lil,” 35, of Philadelphia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg to life plus 207 years’ imprisonment, to be served consecutively. Smith was found guilty by a jury in January 2017, of committing a series of horrifying crimes, including armed home invasion robberies, carjackings, a kidnapping, and related firearms offenses—all over the course of an approximate 20-month period, from October 2012 to April 2014.
Smith was a leader of an extremely violent criminal organization of 20 individuals. As part of their conspiracy, they planned to commit armed robberies and kidnappings. Their goal was to steal drugs, drug proceeds, and other items of value, or obtain ransom for the release of their kidnapping victims. Members of the conspiracy conducted surveillance of their victims and tracked their victims using GPS devices. Smith and the others also used police scanners to monitor police radio during the commission of their crimes to evade detection and apprehension by law enforcement.
Members of the organization also used firearms and/or brute physical force to facilitate the commission of the robberies, kidnappings and carjackings, specifically to threaten, intimidate, and subdue the victims. They also occasionally dressed as police officers as a means to fool their victims. They shot and threatened to shoot their victims and physically restrained them with handcuffs, zip ties, electrical cords, and shoelaces and held them captive, at times, for several hours. They even went so far as to waterboard and pour boiling water on the genitals of some of their victims.
“Motivated by his desire for drugs, money, and power, Khalil Smith was a ringleader of a ruthless, violent gang,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “This crew resorted to torture, extreme violence, intimidation, and even impersonation of law enforcement to dominate their victims and terrorize our community. Because of the dedicated work of prosecutors and law enforcement working this case, Smith will now spend the rest of his life where he belongs – in a prison cell. The facts of this case are an excellent example of why violent crime is a priority for my Office and the Department of Justice.”
“A key component of ATF’s mission is to combat and reduce violent crime. The life sentence that was handed down today is another victory in the battle against violent crime for ATF, our law enforcement partners, and more importantly, the citizens of Philadelphia,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Donald Robinson. “This sentence sends a very strong message to these home invasion crews that are preying on our communities. We appreciate the cooperation of our federal, state and local partners to this bring this case to a successful conclusion.”
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This case was investigated by the ATF, the Philadelphia Police Department and various other local police departments throughout the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Salvatore L. Astolfi and Jeanine Linehan.