WASHINGTON – The last two defendants charged for their racketeering crimes as part of the Crips gang in Pittsburgh pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Lamon Street, 20, aka “M-Dot,” and Dominique Steele, 21, aka “C-Flack,” pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond to one count of conspiracy to engage in a racketeering enterprise. Steele also pleaded guilty to using a firearm during and in retaliation for a crime of violence. Nicky Evans, 31, aka “Yamma,” pleaded guilty on Aug. 22, 2011, to one count of conspiracy to engage in a racketeering enterprise.
In addition, Vance Pearson, 25, aka “Vinny P,” and Phillip Turner, 23, aka “Philly-C,” were sentenced this week to 100 months and 154 months in prison, respectively, after pleading guilty on Apr. 26 and Apr. 28, 2011, respectively, to conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity.
“The Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang ruled certain neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, spreading violence and fear in their communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “This extensive investigation has taken dangerous Crips leaders, members and associates off the streets and put them in prison, where they belong. Violent street gangs should take note, and know that we are determined to break their vice grip on communities, while ensuring that they face justice for their crimes.”
“Today’s pleas successfully resolve charges against the final members of the criminal conspiracy which was contributing to the victimization of law abiding citizens in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Hickton. “Justice has been served. The public welfare has been protected. This outstanding result was achieved by virtue of the great cooperation of all of our law enforcement partners, this office and the U. S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.”
According to the guilty pleas, Street, Steele, Evans and others participated in a pattern of racketeering activity that included robberies at gun point; attempted murders; distribution of cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine; and obstruction of justice and witness intimidation.
According to court documents, Steele, Pearson and Turner were members of the Northview Heights/ Fineview Crips, a criminal street gang that operated in the Northview Heights public housing venue on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Street and Evans were members of the Brighton Place Crips, a criminal street gang that controlled an area of Brighton Place and Morrison Street, also known as the Mad Cave, and Federal Street in the Northside area of Pittsburgh. In 2003, the Northview Heights/ Fineview Crips and Brighton Place Crips formed an alliance. The alliance expanded the gang’s drug trafficking territory, and increased the number of gang members and associates available to preserve and protect the gang’s power, territory and profits through violence.
The Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang maintains exclusive control over drug trafficking in these neighborhoods through continuous violence and intimidation of rivals and witnesses. Members of the gang support each other through payment of attorneys’ fees and bonds, as well as payments to jail commissary accounts and support payments to incarcerated members’ families.
In addition, gang members had violent confrontations with members of the rival Manchester OGs, and other street gangs operating in the Northside Section of Pittsburgh. Members and associates obtained greater authority and prestige within the enterprise based on their reputation for violence and their ability to obtain and sell a steady supply of illegal drugs. According to court documents, the Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang members identify themselves by wearing blue, flashing Crips gang hand signals, and using phrases such as “Cuz,” “C-Safe,” “Loc” and “G.K.”
Evans, Street, Steele, Turner and Pearson are five of 26 defendants charged in February 2010 with being members of, and conducting racketeering activity through, the Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang. This prosecution resulted from a Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force investigation that began in 2005. With today’s guilty pleas, there are no pending charges left against the 26 defendants originally charged in the indictment.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles A. Eberle and Troy Rive tti of the Western District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorney Kevin Rosenberg of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police; the Allegheny County, Penn., Police Department; and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office.