TTP Bloods Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Activities

Defendant Stabbed and Shot a Man Who was Later Murdered by other TTP Members for
Testifying About the Stabbing and Shooting

October 15, 2009

Baltimore, Maryland -Antwoine Gross, age 23, of Essex, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to conduct and participate in the activities of a racketeering enterprise known as 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.

According to Gross’ plea agreement, 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 and spread throughout Maryland mostly by recruiting from inside Maryland prisons. Over time, a group of female gang members formed a subset of TTP known as the Tree Top Pirettes.

According to his plea agreement, Gross was a member of the TTP Bloods. From at least 2005 through February 2008, other TTP members obtained drugs from Gross to sell on the street. According to witnesses, Gross sold or traded one of the guns used in the murder of Marquell Smith on December 17, 2006 and Gross was one of the TTP members called on to commit a shooting, when needed.

On August 8, 2004, Gross stabbed Lamont Jackson several times in the arm and as Jackson was fleeing from the area, he heard Gross state, “I’m gonna come back and kill you.” The next day, Gross and another man located Jackson in his bedroom and fired four rounds at him from their handguns. Jackson was struck in the stomach and hip. While recovering in the hospital, Jackson and another witness identified Gross as a shooter. Gross twice told a witness that he shot and stabbed Lamont Jackson.

Jackson was murdered on November 17, 2006 by two other TTP Bloods members, in retaliation for Lamont Jackson testifying against Gross for the 2004 stabbing and shooting.

Gross faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. scheduled sentencing for April 2, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.

This case is the result of a long-term joint investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Baltimore City Police Department, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office. Twenty-five additional gang members have been charged in the racketeering conspiracy. Thirteen defendants, including Gross, have pleaded guilty to the RICO conspiracy and 10 of those have been sentenced to between 21 months and 30 years in prison. Four defendants have pleaded guilty to gun or drug charges. 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.



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