Less than a month after the first member of the Kingsmen admitted his guilt, a second gang member is taking a plea deal.
Thomas Koszuta, 53, one of 16 Kingsmen Motorcycle Club members charged with running a criminal enterprise, pleaded guilty Wednesday to racketeering and weapons charges.
Koszuta will face a recommended sentence of up to 147 months in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford.
The charges against the former New York State regional president stem from a federal indictment that accuses the gang of running a criminal organization that sold drugs and guns to make money and used murder, robbery and kidnapping to protect its operations.
The indictment also charges Andre “Little Bear” Jenkins, the gang member found guilty of killing fellow Kingsmen Daniel “DJ” Szymanski, 31, of Getzville, and Paul Maue, 38, of Buffalo, and alleges that Kingsmen President David Pirk told him to murder the two men.
Federal prosecutors say Pirk ordered the killings as part of a campaign to turn the club into a criminal organization. Pirk has denied the allegations.
In pleading guilty, Koszuta admitted the Kingsmen were a criminal enterprise with a strict chain of command and Pirk at the top of it.
“Orders went from the top down?” Wolford asked at one point Wednesday.
“Yes, ma’am,” Koszuta answered.
A native of Buffalo, Koszuta said the Kingsmen sold cocaine and firearms at their clubhouse in South Buffalo, where he once served as chapter president.
He also admitted taking part in the shut down of a Kingsmen clubhouse in Springville, where members were viewed as disloyal to Pirk. In his plea deal, he said he struck one of the Springville members with a large flashlight and knocked him unconscious.
Koszuta said little during his court appearance but, at one point, acknowledged his leadership status in the organization.
“I held most titles in the club," he told Wolford.
Defense attorney Lori A. Hoffman declined to comment on the plea agreement.
Koszuta’s conviction is the result of a prosecution by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi and an investigation by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force that includes the Buffalo Police and State Police.