FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
FEBRUARY 25, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
28 ALLEGED MEMBERS OF VIOLENT “TTP BLOODS” GANG INDICTED
ON FEDERAL RACKETEERING, DRUG AND GUN CHARGES THAT MAY BRING LIFE IN FEDERAL PRISON
Indictment of 23 Men and 5 Women Alleges Violent Criminal Acts Including Murders, Shootings, Robberies, Drug Trafficking and Witness Intimidation - Culminates Long Investigation by Federal and State Authorities
BALTIMORE, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted 28 defendants for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise known as the Tree Top Piru Bloods gang (TTP Bloods), conspiracy to distribute drugs and gun violations, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. The indictment was returned under seal on February 21, 2008, and unsealed today upon the arrests of eight defendants to date. Fourteen defendants were previously in custody. This indictment was the culmination of a long-term joint investigation by the ATF, Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “More than 100 law enforcement officers deployed this morning to execute search warrants and arrest members of a violent gang known as TTP Bloods. The detailed indictment alleges that TTP Bloods gang members belong to a nationwide racketeering enterprise, for which they may be exiled to federal prison with no probation and no parole. This case demonstrates that federal, state and local law enforcement authorities are united in our commitment to reduce violence in Maryland by targeting deadly gangs.”
“These federal indictments demonstrate the strength of our partnership among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and the United States Attorney’s Office to target gang violence throughout the State of Maryland,” said State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. “This is an example of how we can focus our investigatory resources towards dismantling a violent drug organization and its leaders. This was a strategic operation that went beyond street level arrests, inflicting a significant blow to a violent narcotics gang in Baltimore.
“The Tree Top Piru gang members prided themselves on monopolizing, paralyzing, and terrorizing neighborhoods to promote their criminal activity and protect their turf,” said Ronnie Carter, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “We’d like to tell the members of the Tree Top Piru gang, you’re on OUR turf now.”
“The Baltimore Police Department is committed to pursuing our most violent offenders and putting them away for as long as possible,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld. “With the help of our federal law enforcement partners, these dangerous people will be off Baltimore’s streets and our city will be safer.”
The indictment alleges that the defendants were members of TTP Bloods, a violent gang with members operating throughout Maryland, including Baltimore and the Eastern Shore. The indictment charges that the defendants conspired to engage in criminal activity, including murders, assaults, robberies, kidnappings, drug trafficking, and threatening and intimidating witnesses, from at least 2005 until the present.
The indictment alleges that some members were required to complete an initiation process that sometimes involved “missions,” which referred to violent acts such as robberies, assaults or carjackings. The initiation process also involved being “jumped in” through a beating by other gang members. TTP members were required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and advance in the gang leadership.
Specific acts of violence alleged in the indictment include five murders in Maryland, as follows: the September 21, 2005 murder of Terrance Williams; the November 17, 2006 murder of Lamont Jackson; the December 17, 2006 murder of Marquel Smith which two gang members directed juveniles to commit; the June 23, 2007 choking death of Jewels Cook; and the October 5, 2007 murder of David Leonard Moore. Also in December 2006, three defendants are alleged to have conspired to obstruct a state murder trial, State of Maryland v. Gary, et al., No. 106041006, by talking with a juror and intimidating a witness.
The indictment sets out in detail numerous acts taken by the defendants in furtherance of their racketeering scheme. For example, the indictment alleges that in a letter to a TTP leader in Compton, California about the Maryland TTP set, gang leader Steve Willock allegedly wrote that his “right hand under the set is the homie Wildchild . . . The other heads over here are Bad Guy also known as ShyTown, True Story, also known as Lucky, Skar Ru, Kayo, Darque Blaque pronounced dark black and Tall Vials (if the homies on that side ever scene [sic] the original Stop Snitching Stop Lying DVD that had [C.A.] on it, Tall Vials and some of the other Treez produced that.” Willock continued: “I’m working on getting a full head count and list of all the Tree Tops on this side so the T.T.P. homies on that side know the exact number of Tree Top Piru homies are on this side. . . . I am working on getting the Trees focused on building a financial structure for the set, and the homies down with the set, in and out of the pen. We have about 3-4 territories in Baltimore, Md (BodyMore) and we have blocks in different counties in Md, also territories in the Eastern Shore. . . . I’m unsure if Tree Top on the west is what The Trojans ‘intended’ it to be but we want to make sure that we build Tree Top Piru on this side to keep the Unfadeable Legacy of the Tree Top alive . . . it’s a pleasure to connect with tha Real Gangsta’s of the West.”
On April 24, 2007, gang member Michelle Hebron allegedly wrote to Steve Willock in prison to confirm TTP rules as she understood them, among them: “never denounce your flag; never lose contact with your SP [sponsor], never discuss Tree Top Piru business with no one, never deny being blood, never switch sets without probable cause, never let roscoe [police] get your knowledge, no homosexuality, attend all 911s [meetings], must pay all dues.”
On August 27, 2007, a TTP member is alleged to have advised Kevin Gary about “a mission” a day earlier in which TTP members had assaulted a Muslim.
On February 14, 2008, gang member Ronnie Thomas a/k/a “Skinny Suge” allegedly called gang member Kevin Gary a/k/a “Red Eyes” and discussed retaliating against a store owner who refused to sell his “Stop Snitchin’ 2” DVD.
On February 15, 2008, gang member Kevin Gary allegedly asked two gang members to rob non-gang members who were selling drugs in TTP territory without TTP permission.
TTP Bloods originated from a street gang known as “the Bloods” that was formed in Los Angeles, California in the early 1970s. As time passed, the Bloods spread to other locations and broke into individual “sets.” One such Bloods set based in Compton, California was called Piru Bloods, which emerged into a subset known as Tree Top Pirus (TTP). The name derived from a group of streets in Compton named after trees.
TTP spread throughout the country, including Maryland. TTP in Maryland has its roots in a local gang which began in the Washington County Detention Center in Hagerstown, Maryland in about 1999. The gang was formed for mutual protection in response to the aggression of other inmates from Baltimore.
TTP spread throughout Maryland mostly as a result of recruitment from inside Maryland prisons. From 2000 to 2003, defendant Steve Willock assumed a leadership role and directed operations from prison. Over time, a group of female gang members formed a subset of TTP known as the Tree Top Pirettes. Five of the defendants charged in this indictment are women.
The following defendants are charged in the indictment:
Steve Willock, age 28, of Hagerstown;
Jerrod Fenwick, age 27, of Baltimore;
Kevin Gary, age 26, of Baltimore;
Shonn Eubanks, age 35, of Baltimore;
Van Sneed, age 31 , Baltimore
Troy Smith, age 25, of Baltimore County;
Ronnie Thomas, age 34, of Baltimore;
Sean Frazier, age 24, of Baltimore;
Allen Smith, age 27, of Baltimore;
Orlando Gilyard, age 21, of Baltimore County;
Sherman Pride, age 33, of Salisbury;
Tracey Whiting, age 23, of Baltimore;
Shaneka Penix, age 22, of Baltimore;
Diane Kline, age 30, of Hagerstown;
Sherry Brockington, age 23, of Baltimore;
Michelle Hebron, age 23, of Hagerstown;
Anthony Fleming, age 21, of Baltimore;
Tat Burch, age 25, of Baltimore;
Keili Dyson, age 25, of Baltimore;
Naeem Jones, age 29, of Baltimore;
Antwoine Gross, age 21, of Baltimore County;
Tavon Howard, age 22, of Baltimore;
Clyde Miller, age 22, of Baltimore County;
Tavon Mouzone, age 22, of Baltimore County;
Antonio Smith, age 25, of Baltimore;
Roland McClain, age 31, of Baltimore County;
Emmanuel Fitzgerald, age 33, of Baltimore;
Keon Williams, age 26, of Baltimore.
Each of the 21 defendants charged in count two with the drug trafficking conspiracy faces a maximum sentence of life in prison; and each of the 26 defendants charged in count one with the RICO conspiracy faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Initial appearances are scheduled for today in federal court in Baltimore.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rosenstein and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Jessamy commended the more than 100 federal and state law enforcement officers led by the ATF’s Violent Crime Impact Teams who worked together to execute the search and arrest warrants today. Mr. Rosenstein and Mrs. Jessamy praised the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Baltimore City Police Department, Baltimore County Police Department, Wicomico County State’s Attorney Office, Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Narcotics Task Force, Western Correctional Institution, North Branch Correctional Institution, Anne Arundel County Police Department, Hagerstown Police Department for their investigation of this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.
Mr. Rosenstein and Mrs. Jessamy also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Levin, and Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorneys Chris Mason and LaRai Forrest for investigating and prosecuting this case.