FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
July 24, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TWO SENTENCED TO OVER 11 YEARS EACH IN TTP BLOODS CASE
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Antonio Smith, age 27, and Sean Frazier, age 25, both of Baltimore, today to 180 months in prison and 135 months in prison, respectively, followed by five years of supervised release each, in connection with the activities of the Tree Top Piru Bloods (TTP Bloods), announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. Smith previously pleaded guilty to three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and Frazier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct and participate in the activities of a racketeering enterprise known as the TTP Bloods.
According to Sean Frazier’s plea agreement and other court documents, 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. From this set emerged 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. Over time, a group of female gang members formed a subset of TTP known as the Tree Top Pirettes.
As part of the conspiracy gang members of TTP would meet regularly to discuss past acts of violence and other crimes committed by gang members against rival gang members and others; to notify one another about gang members who were arrested or incarcerated; to discuss the disciplining of TTP gang members; to discuss police interactions with gang members; to share with one another the identities of individuals who may be cooperating with law enforcement and propose actions to be taken against those individuals; to plan and agree upon the commission of future crimes, including murders, robberies, drug trafficking, and assaults, and the means to cover up these crimes; and to reinforce gang rules. TTP gang members and associates of TTP purchased, maintained and circulated a collection of firearms for use in criminal activity by TTP members. In addition, TTP gang members and associates of TTP committed acts of murder, and other acts of violence against rival gang members and imposed discipline within TTP itself, and committed violent acts on other occasions as deemed necessary.
According to his plea agreement, from at least 2005 through February 2008, Sean Frazier was a member of the TTP Bloods, and as part of the racketeering conspiracy distributed heroin, crack cocaine and other drugs and collected drug proceeds on behalf of the TTP Bloods. Frazier admitted that over the course of the conspiracy he was responsible for selling between 150 and 500 grams of crack cocaine. On just three occasions from July 27 through September 14, 2007, Frazier sold a total 82 grams of crack cocaine. In addition, Frazier was overheard in telephone conversations discussing gang business, including obtaining firearms for members of the gang, the status of other TTP leaders and members, and violent acts committed by fellow gang members.
According to Smith’s plea agreement, on May 2, 2007, law enforcement officers conducting surveillance of a TTP Bloods gang member saw Smith provide the gang member with a Norinco 7.62 caliber rifle and a Century Arms .308 caliber rifle. Law enforcement saw Smith supply a TTP Bloods gang member with a Magnum 12 gauge shotgun on July 19, 2007. On July 23, 2007 law enforcement officers saw Smith with a .44 caliber revolver, which he was prohibited from possessing due to previous felony convictions.
This case is the result of a long-term joint investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office. Twenty-four additional gang members have been charged in the racketeering conspiracy. Kevin Gary, age 27, Steve Willock, age 29, Van Sneed, age 32, and Tracey Whiting, age 24, all of Baltimore, Maryland; Shaneka Penix, age 23, of Dundalk, Maryland; and Orlando Gilyard, age 22, of Woodlawn, Maryland; and Sherry Brockington, age 24, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to the RICO conspiracy. Gary was sentenced to 30 years in prison, Willock was sentenced to 25 years in prison, Gilyard was sentenced to 115 months in prison, Penix was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Whiting was sentenced to 21 months in prison and Brockington was sentenced to 57 months in prison. Allen Smith, 29, and Tavon Howard, age 24, both of Baltimore, have also pleaded guilty to the RICO conspiracy count and are awaiting sentencing. The remaining defendants’ charges are pending.
Mr. Rosenstein and Ms. Jessamy gave special thanks to Secretary Gary Maynard of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the officers at the Western and North Branch Correctional Institutions for their work in the investigation and prosecution of this case.
United States Attorney Rosenstein and Baltimore City State’s Attorney 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, Anne Arundel County Police Department, and the 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 Michael Hanlon, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Mason, a cross-designated Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorney, who are prosecuting the case and Assistant State’s Attorney LaRai Forrest who assisted in the prosecution.