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NYC gang leader sentenced to 50 years

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Omar Portee, the founder and leader of the United Blood Nation Gang (the Bloods), was sentenced Monday to 50 years in prison for crimes ranging from racketeering and drug possession to conspiracy to commit murder.

Since its beginning in 1993, the Bloods has been known as a violent street and prison gang that operates along the East Coast. Portee founded the gang while serving time for a weapons offense as a way to gain power and control over fellow inmates, prosecutors said.

Portee then created a system of codes and hand signals, known as "stacks," in order to communicate secretly with other gang members, prosecutors said. They said that once out of prison, Portee and his followers would use certain "stacks" to prevent rival gangs from understanding the Bloods' communications.

Federal court documents also claimed that members of the gang identified each other on the street by wearing red and carrying red bandanas to signal their loyalty.

Many members of the gang were youths persuaded to commit a variety of violent and criminal acts as a show of support. Portee has also been called "the Godfather of the New York Bloods" and "the Almighty."

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