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Philly man who led violent robbery gang gets life in prison

Khalil "Lil" Smith ran a gang of 20 individuals who targeted victims in Philadelphia and its suburbs.

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The leader of a violent robbery gang was sentenced in Philadelphia federal court to life plus 207 years in prison, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said Monday.

Khalil "Lil" Smith, 35, of Philadelphia, ran a gang of 20 individuals who targeted victims from October 2012 to April 2014 in Philadelphia and its suburbs. The gang sought to steal drugs, cash, and other valuables, or demand ransoms for kidnapped victims.

"They also occasionally dressed as police officers as a means to aid them in subduing their victims," prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.

According to the original 2015 indictment of Smith and 15 other men, the gang was responsible for series of home-invasion robberies in which the victims often were beaten, tied up, and sometimes forced to strip and be subjected to waterboarding or scalding with boiling water.

Smith was found guilty by a jury in 2017 of conspiracy to commit robbery, kidnapping, and related offenses.

Prosecutors said Smith had a criminal record dating back to when his was a juvenile.

"The only way to protect society from his despicable criminal tendencies is to incarcerate him for the remainder of his natural life," prosecutors wrote.