One of three men using stolen police uniform sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for kidnapping family at gun point and demanding ransom
DENVER – Tracy Morgan (aka Tre Dog), age 41, of Denver, was sentenced this week to serve 600 months (50 years) in federal prison for kidnapping and related charges, United States Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone announced. Morgan was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn on October 3, 2012. Following his 50 year prison sentence, Judge Blackburn ordered Morgan to spend 5 years on supervised release. Morgan appeared at the hearing in custody, and was remanded immediately after. Two additional defendants, Killiu Ford (aka Caveman), of Aurora, and Augustus Sanford (aka Turk), of Denver, are pending sentencing. All three were found guilty following a 6-day trial before Judge Blackburn.
The three defendants, Morgan, Ford and Sanford, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on August 3, 2011. Their jury trial started on June 11, 2012. The jury returned their guilty verdicts on June 21, 2012. Morgan was sentenced on October 3, 2012.
The jury found that the defendants committed crimes including kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.
According to the indictment, as well as information presented during the trial, on September 22, 2009, within the State and District of Colorado, the defendants, did willfully and unlawfully seize, confine, kidnap, abduct and carry away, an adult male victim, an adult female victim, and two juvenile victims, holding them for ransom and reward, and using a cellular telephone, the internet and a Global Positioning System in the process.
From August 2009, through September 23, 2009, the three defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to kidnap and rob the male victim. It was the primary object of the conspiracy to kidnap and rob the male victim with the assistance of a GPS tracking system installed on the victim’s car. In furtherance of the conspiracy, the defendants discussed their plans with others, purchased a GPS tracker on the internet, and called the adult victim requesting a delivery of cocaine so that Morgan and Ford could attach the tracker to the victim’s car. At some point during September 2009, the male victim received a call requesting the delivery of the cocaine. During the delivery of the cocaine the defendants attached the GPS tracker to the victim’s car. For the next few weeks, Morgan and Ford monitored the vehicle’s movement by using a computer to follow the tracker. Through use of the monitoring, the defendants were able to determine where the victim and his family lived, as well as his habits and patterns.
Prior to leaving to carry out the robbery, Morgan, Ford and Sanford assembled at an unindicted co-conspirator’s house. Sanford was wearing a stolen Denver Police Department uniform that he had obtained from a juvenile whose father was a Denver police officer, in exchange for marijuana. All of the defendants brought guns to use during the robbery. Before leaving the house, the defendants used a computer to determine the location of the victim by use of the tracker. After the defendants left, Morgan called the unindicted co-conspirator several times to ask him to check the computer for the current location of the victim. On the last call, Morgan was given the location.
At approximately 11 p.m. on September 22, 2009, the defendants located the victim in Edgewater, Colorado. As the male victim and his wife placed their two young daughters into car seats in the rear of their car, the defendants jumped out of their various vehicles, with their guns drawn, and announced they were the police. One man, Sanford, ordered the male victim’s wife at gun point into the passenger seat of her car and he then got into the driver’s seat. The gunman, Sanford, then drove the adult female victim and her two children to their home in Thornton, Colorado. When they arrived at the home, between three and five men entered the home, including all three defendants, and began ransacking the house. They demanded that the female victim show them where the drugs and money were inside the residence.
When the female victim denied knowing anything about drugs or money, Morgan ordered one of the men to grab one of the female victim’s young daughters. The man carried juvenile one up the stairs and Morgan pointed a gun at juvenile one’s head. At that point the adult female victim pointed out where money was hidden and the men grabbed approximately $30,000 in cash. They then fled in different vehicles. The men in Sanford’s vehicle stopped along 104th Avenue in Thornton and pushed the male victim out of the car and onto the side of the road before pulling away.
The defendants were also found guilty of possessing firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence, which in this case was the kidnapping.
“Kidnapping – and particularly, child kidnapping -- has been a serious federal crime with severe consequences ever since the days of the Lindbergh baby case,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “Federal authorities are relentless in tracking down and prosecuting those who commit this crime. This 600 month sentence serves as a warning to all would-be kidnapers, and also a reminder that harming a victim would bring even more severe consequences.”
“This 50-year sentence should set an example for those who seek out to harm or threaten children in the pursuit of obtaining illegal drugs or money,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone.
The two remaining defendants face up to 20 years, and not more than life imprisonment (up to 20 years for the adult kidnapping charges and 25 year mandatory minimums for the children), and up to a $250,000 fine, for two counts of kidnapping a minor using a cellular phone, the internet and a Global Positioning System. They also face not less than 25 years, and not more than life imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine, for two counts of kidnapping using a cellular phone, the internet and a Global Positioning System. The two remaining defendants also face up to twenty years and up to a $250,000 fine for conspiring to kidnap and rob an individual. They all face not less than 7 years, and not more than life for using a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, which must run consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed.
This case was investigated by the Denver Metro Gang Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of FBI, IRS, ICE HSI, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Aurora Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Commerce City Police Department, Denver District Attorney’s Office, Denver Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Thornton Police Department.
The defendants were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colleen Covell and Suneeta Hazra.