Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
BOISE – Mathew Grover, 22, of Fruitland, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and unlawful possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.
According to the plea agreement, Grover is a member of an enterprise called the “Brown Magic Clica,” (BMC), a Sureno street gang with members in the Districts of Idaho and Oregon. Grover admitted that he and other members of BMC agreed to participate in the conduct of BMC through a pattern of racketeering activity. BMC members were ordered by the gang's leaders to engage in criminal activity and to distribute a portion of the profits from the illegal activity to gang members who were incarcerated. Grover admitted that on April 21, 2009, he conspired with co-defendant Juan Gonzales and others to distribute oxycodone, and that he sold two .22 revolvers and a stolen motorcycle to another BMC member. Grover further admitted that on August 28, 2009, he sold three firearms and methamphetamine to a BMC member. At the time Grover possessed the firearms, he had previously been convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year, and was therefore prohibited from possessing firearms.
The charge of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise is punishable by up to twenty years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to five years supervised release. The charge of unlawful possession of a firearm carries up to ten years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years supervised release.
Sentencing is set for January 9, 2012.
A jury trial is set on December 6, 2011, for the remaining defendants named in the federal indictment – Salvador Apodaca, 24, of Pendleton, Oregon, Alfredo Castro, 35, of Boise, Oscar Garcia, 24, of Umatilla, Oregon, Adam Gomez, 23, of Boise, Adelaido Gomez, 26, of Boise, Juan Gonzalez, 26, of Cottonwood, Juan Jimenez, 27, of Boise, Jessie Rodriguez, 26, of Nyssa, Samson Torres, 23, of Ontario, and Amando Torres, 27, of Pendleton.
The federal racketeer influenced corrupt organizations (RICO) law prohibits individuals from participating, or conspiring to participate, in the conduct of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. An enterprise is defined as any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity. Racketeering activity is defined as specified criminal acts, including murder, arson, distribution of controlled substances, and intimidation and retaliation against witnesses.
Operation Black Magic included the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Ada County Sheriff's Office, the Boise Police Department, the Caldwell Police Department, the Canyon County Sheriff's Office, the Idaho Department of Corrections, the Malheur County Sheriff's Office, the Meridian Police Department, the Nampa Police Department, the Nyssa Police Department, the Ontario Police Department, the Oregon State Police, and the U.S. Attorney's Office. The investigation is ongoing.
Operation Black Magic is being prosecuted federally by Assistants U.S. Attorney and the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and the State of Idaho to address gang crimes. The Treasure Valley Partnership is comprised of a group of elected officials in southeast Idaho dedicated to regional coordination, cooperation, and collaboration on creating coherent regional growth. For more information, visit www.treasurevalleypartners.org.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.