Four Youngstown Men convicted of racketeering for roles in LSP street gang, which used violence to control drug turf
Four Youngstown men were convicted of conspiracy to commit racketeering (RICO) for their roles as members or affiliates of the street gang LSP, which used violence, including attempted murder, to control territory and sell heroin, cocaine and other drugs, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Robert Browning, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Convicted of the RICO charge were Daquann Hackett and Derrick Johnson, Jr., both 22, who were identified as leaders of LSP. Terrance Machen, Jr. and Edward Campbell, both 21, were also convicted of RICO.
“Today’s verdict should send a message that the people of Youngstown are willing to stand up and take back their streets,” Dettelbach said. “This gang used violence to intimidate an entire neighborhood and traffick drugs. Their new neighborhood is federal prison.”
Browning said: “This gang’s reign of terror has met its end. ATF and Youngstown Police are getting violent criminals off the street and behind bars, where they belong.”
Carlton Council, Jr, 29,. was acquitted on the RICO count.
Eighteen other people previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy following an indictment in March 2011.
The charges detailed a conspiracy that lasted at least eight years and involved crimes including attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, felonious assault, carjacking, robbery, witness tampering, retaliation, firearms trafficking and drug trafficking.
The name LSP is an acronym that represents Laclede, Sherwood, Parkview and/or Princeton avenues, streets at the heart of the gang’s territory in the Idora neighborhood of Youngstown’s south side. The group existed to enrich its leaders, members and associates through the sale and distribution of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, according to the indictment.
LSP used violence to guard its drug distribution territory, intimidate rival gangs and others, retaliate against those who cooperated with law enforcement and expand its power and reputation, according to the indictment.
Hackett was convicted on 19 counts in addition to the RICO conspiracy, including violent crimes in aid of racketeering, use of a firearm in a crime of violence, distribution of narcotics, conspiracy to distribute narcotics and retaliation (attempted murder).
Johnson was convicted on 7 counts in addition to the RICO conspiracy, including violent crimes in aid of racketeering, use of a firearm in a crime of violence, conspiracy to distribute cocaine base (crack) and retaliation.
According to the federal racketeering indictment, Hackett purchased cocaine, which he then “cooked” into crack cocaine and distributed it to member and associates of LSP for further resale.
Gang members described themselves as a family and fought and shot others on behalf of other members of LSP, according to the indictment.
They also routinely sold illegal firearms as a way to make money. Gang members also regularly wore ballistic or “bulletproof” vests to protect themselves during shootings, according to the indictment.
The gang painted graffiti “tags” to mark their territory. LSP leaders and members obtained tattoos reading “LSP” to indicate lifetime affiliation with the gang. They also used MySpace.com to glorify LSP by posting gang-related photos and writings, according to the indictment.
The indictment identified scores of criminal acts dating back to 2003 that were part of the LSP criminal conspiracy. Among them:
On Nov. 1, 2008, Hackett attempted to murder Sherman Perkins by shooting him on Sherwood Avenue, according to the indictment.
On March 14, 2009, Johnson and two others conspired to murder when they shot two people from a vehicle on East Judson Avenue, according to the indictment.
On April 13, 2010, Hackett, Johnson and another person found a recording device on a confidential informant during a drug transaction. They dragged the informant down the stairs, where they hit, kicked and used a firearm to strike the informant in an effort to kill him, according to the indictment.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel Riedl and Robert Corts and Trial Attorney Kevin Rosenberg with the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. It followed an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Youngtown Police Department and the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office.