One of the leaders of a notorious South Camden drug gang was sentenced to 30 years in prison yesterday for his role in a multimillion-dollar cocaine and crack distribution network that operated between January 1998 and May 2006.

Rashad Smith, 35, who pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge last year, was sentenced during a brief hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton.

Smith, of Gloucester Township, was one of the targets of a two-year joint federal drug task force investigation aimed at the so-called M.O.B. Boys, a drug organization based in the 1200 block of Morton Street.

Authorities alleged that the M.O.B. Boys were wholesale suppliers of kilogram quantities of cocaine to other drug dealers in the city and also operated a 24-hour-a-day open-air crack and cocaine market in the middle of the block. M.O.B. was an acronym for "middle of the block."

At its height, investigators said, the open-air market was generating about $20,000 a week in street-level sales.

Authorities charged that the organization used violence to maintain order and control within the drug underworld. At least one murder was linked to the organization during an investigation spearheaded by the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force and the Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.

The investigation was built around informant testimony, cooperating witnesses who secretly recorded conversations with members of the drug ring, and a four-month, court-authorized wiretap operation in which more than 1,700 conversations were recorded.

Smith and 19 others were charged in May 2006 when investigators wrapped up the investigation and shut down the drug network.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine in August. The other defendants also have pleaded guilty. Most are awaiting sentencing.

At a separate hearing yesterday, Rashan Williams, 27, of Camden, was sentenced to eight years in prison. Williams, an admitted drug supplier for the M.O.B. Boys, had pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge in December.

Contact staff writer George Anastasia at 856-779-3846 or ganastasia@phillynews.com.