Bounty Hunter Bloods Gang Member is Sentenced to 36 Years in Prison
NORFOLK, Va. - Gang member Eric Drandell Ward, 28, of Portsmouth, Va., was sentenced today in Norfolk federal court to serve 29 years in prison for his racketeering acts and 7 years in prison for possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after Ward was sentenced by United States District Judge Jerome B. Friedman.
Ward previously entered a guilty plea on July 14, 2010, to one RICO count and one count of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. The RICO count includes two racketeering acts that Ward participated in as a gang member. These racketeering acts include home invasion robbery and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
According to court documents, Ward was mid-level leader of the Bounty Hunter Bloods / Nine Tech Gangster street gang that operated in various neighborhoods in Portsmouth, Suffolk and Chesapeake, Virginia. On June 12, 2007, about six Bounty Hunter Blood / Nine Tech Gangster gang members drove to a home in Chesapeake armed with a handgun for the purpose of committing a home invasion robbery. Several weeks earlier, Ward visited the victim’s residence to inquire about renting the residence.
It was during a walk-thru of the residence that Ward noticed a safe in the master bedroom. Ward relayed this information to his fellow gang members, resulting in the plans to commit the home invasion robbery. It was decided that Ward would not go to the home invasion robbery because he would be easily recognized. When the gang arrived at the residence, they knocked on the door and when the victim answered, they forced their way into the residence. At gunpoint, they demanded from the victim money located in the safe. The victim began to scream and was hit several times on the head with the firearm. The screams of the victim came to the attention of the neighbors. Fearing apprehension, the gang members fled the scene. In their haste to flee the scene, they accidently dropped the firearm in the victim’s front yard. The firearm was recovered by the Chesapeake Police. The other racketeering act involves Ward’s daily activity as a gang member in selling illegal narcotics in the Huntersville and College Square neighborhoods of Suffolk, Virginia.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the Portsmouth and Suffolk Police Departments and the Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys William Muhr and Melissa O’Boyle prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.