Las Vegas Street Gang Member Convicted of Federal Racketeering, Murder, and Firearm Offenses
Las Vegas, Nev. – A Las Vegas man was convicted by a federal jury this afternoon of murder, attempted murder, assault and firearms offenses relating to his activities as a member of a Las Vegas criminal street gang, known as "Squad Up," announced Gregory A. Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Jonathon Toliver, aka "K-Boose," 23, was convicted of Violence in Aid of Racketeering Enterprise - Murder; Use of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence; Conspiracy to Murder; Attempted Murder; and Assault With a Dangerous Weapon, and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 30, 2008, by U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro. Toliver faces a potential term of life imprisonment on the Racketeering Murder charge, and up to 235 years in prison on the other charges.
Toliver's co-defendant, Donnie Bryant, aka "Little Donnie," 19, was convicted last month of the same charges, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 19, 2008.
"The indictment alleged that this criminal enterprise known as "Squad Up" engaged in widespread criminal activity, including violent crime, drug trafficking, witness intimidation and retaliation," said U.S. Attorney Brower. "These crimes ultimately affect everyone in our community. A conviction that carries a life sentence should send a strong message to others involved in gang-related criminal activity that our community will not tolerate their conduct, and this office will vigorously prosecute such activity."
According to the indictment, Squad Up is a coalition of various traditional gangs that came together to enlarge their territory within the Las Vegas Valley. Evidence at trial showed that the group was formed in early 2003 and its founders, including Toliver, recruited heavily at Cheyenne High School. It was proven to the jury that Squad Up was a criminal organization and enterprise, and that its purpose included the enrichment of its members through drug trafficking, primarily crack cocaine and marijuana; preserving and protecting the power, territory and profits of the enterprise through violence and intimidation; and protecting members of the enterprise from detection and prosecution. Members committed murder, assault, robbery, burglary and home invasion robbery to obtain guns and cash to expand and finance the enterprise's operations.
On September 13, 2004, Toliver and other members of Squad Up, including Bryant, organized an ambush-style attack on a group of people who were visiting outside of their homes during the evening hours. The attack occurred at the Buena Vista Apartments, an apartment complex in North Las Vegas between Carey Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Witnesses testified that they saw Bryant and other Squad Up members passing out guns days before the attack, after they had argued with an individual from New Orleans. Witnesses also testified that Squad Up members had been trafficking drugs in the apartment complex and they acted as a result of a drug turf dispute with the individual from New Orleans, whose cousin, Gilbert Henry, was fatally shot. A woman, baby-sitting two toddlers and an infant in a nearby apartment, sustained permanent injury to her hand as a result of a bullet shattering a window and flying into the apartment. The evidence revealed that Bryant fired into the group of people first, causing them to flee into the gunfire of Toliver and another attacker. One witness testified that all of the gang members were dressed in "grim reaper" black.
The case was investigated by the FBI, North Las Vegas Police Department, and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathleen Bliss and Nancy J. Koppe.