Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff (Born September 19, 1960) is a convicted American drug trafficker and organized crime figure.
McGriff came to prominence in the early 1980s when he formed his own crack distributing organization which he called the Supreme Team based in the South Jamaica section of Queens, New York. Under McGriff's leadership, the gang's numbers swelled to the hundreds and came to control the crack-cocaine trade in the Baisley Park Houses, the neighborhood where McGriff was raised. At its 1987 peak, the Supreme Team's drug receipts from its street-level operation exceeded $200,000 a day, and the gang regularly committed acts of violence to maintain its stronghold on the area's drug trade. After McGriff went to jail sources leaked that the leader of the "Supreme Team" was Foster Herriot
In 1987, McGriff was arrested following a joint state and federal investigation and in 1989 pleaded guilty to engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. He was sentenced to 12 years' incarceration. McGriff was released from prison on parole in early 1994 after serving approximately seven years of his sentence. He was sent back to prison on parole violations by year's end, and served another 2 1/2 years' incarceration before being released in 1997. McGriff promptly assembled a new team of gang associates, and returned to a life of crime on an even grander scale.
The book "Queens Reign Supreme" details his life, and some claim that the fictional characters Nino Brown in the 1991 film New Jack City and Majestic in Get Rich or Die Tryin are based on him.
McGriff was known for his brutality. He would order military style raids on rival drug dealers, with gang members storming a home in vans and automatic weapons on execution missions. The downfall of the Supreme Team occurred with the murder of a police officer, Edward Byrne, in retaliation for police activity against Howard "Pappy" Mason. The law enforcement attention was so great that George H.W. Bush carried Byrne's badge on the campaign trail in 1988.
McGriff is alleged to have had a hand in the murder of Run D.M.C. member Jam Master Jay and in the shootings of 50 Cent. Persistent rumors have it that McGriff felt 50 Cent had exposed just a little too much on the drug kingpin of Jamaica, Queens and others involved in the drug trade through the lyrics of his 2000 song "Ghetto Qu'ran". Allegedly, McGriff ordered a rap industry blacklisting of 50 Cent as a result of this track, which Jam Master Jay violated when he helped the then-unknown artist launch his career.
On February 1, 2007 McGriff was convicted of murder-for-hire at a Federal court at the Eastern District of New York on charges he paid $50,000 to have two rivals gunned down in 2001, the hired killers are unknown. It is said to be that his godson might have been one of the hired gunmen, but when asked about his involvement, he refused to talk to the police and faced 30 days at a detention center in upstate New York for obstruction of justice. (Rapper Eric "E-Moneybags" Smith and Smith's associate, Troy Singleton).With his sidekick Zak Barnes.
The jury deliberated for five days before finding McGriff guilty of murder conspiracy and drug dealing. On February 9, 2007, the same jury sentenced McGriff to life in prison. Throughout this case he was being defended by a court appointed attorney because all of his assets were seized.
McGriff is serving his life sentence at the ADX Florence supermax prison in Colorado.
See also: ADX Florence