WASHINGTON – A Pittsburgh man has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiring to conduct a racketeering enterprise related to his membership in a Pittsburgh Crips gang, 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.
Terrance Clark, 22, aka “Doo Wop,” pleaded guilty yesterday before Senior U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond to one count of conspiracy to engage in a racketeering enterprise.
According to the guilty plea, Clark and others participated in a pattern of racketeering activity that included multiple acts involving robberies at gun point; attempted murders; distribution of controlled substances, including cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine; and obstruction of justice and witness intimidation.
According to court documents, Clark was a member of the Northview Heights/ Fineview Crips, a criminal street gang operating out of the Northview Heights public housing facility in the Northside neighborhood, and in the nearby Fineview neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The gang had been operating in the Northside since 2002; in 2003, it formed an alliance with the Brighton Place Crips to expand the gang’s drug trafficking territory and increase the gang’s capability for 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, the Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang maintains an ongoing feud with the Manchester Original Gangsters, a criminal street gang located in the Manchester area of the Northside Section of Pittsburgh. Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang members identify themselves by wearing blue, using Crips gang hand signals, and using phrases such as “Cuz,” “C-Safe,” “Loc” and “G.K.” According to court documents, members and associates of the gang gain greater authority and prestige within the gang based upon their reputation for violence and their ability to obtain and sell a steady supply of illegal drugs.
According to court documents, Clark acted as a “hustler” or distributor of controlled substances, including heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine, for the gang. He also acted as a “soldier/ gorilla” or enforcer for the gang, providing protection for the enterprise through the commission of violent crimes. According to information presented in court, Clark and a co-conspirator were responsible for at least two armed robberies, one of which involved a carjacking. Clark was also involved in at least two instances relating to the obstruction of criminal investigations, including a homicide prosecution. In addition, in December 2007, Clark pointed a firearm at several Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents and task force officers as they drove an unmarked car through the Brighton Place neighborhood seeking to serve a subpoena on a government witness. Subsequent recorded telephone conversations from jail between Clark and his co-conspirators showed that Clark initially believed the occupants of the vehicle were members of a rival gang attempting to shoot at him and his fellow Crips members.
Clark is one 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. To date, 16 members of the Brighton Place/ Northview Heights Crips who were charged in this indictment have pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.
Clark faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of $250,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 20, 2011.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles A. Eberle and Troy Rivetti 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 ATF; the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police; the Allegheny County, Penn., Police Department; and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office.