Lead Defendant in Federal Case Targeting Crips Gang Sentenced to Nearly 22 Years in Prison for Racketeering Offenses, including Murder Plot
LOS ANGELES – A leader of the Five Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips (BGC) – who pleaded guilty to five federal charges, including being the leader a scheme that led to the murder of a former-gangster-turned-cooperator, was sentenced today to 262 months in federal prison.
Tyrine Martinez, also known as “Lil’ C-Bone,” 36, of Vernon, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge S. James Otero.
Martinez admitted in court that he conspired with other BGC members to murder a fellow gang member who had provided law enforcement with information about a 2012 BGC gang shooting that killed an unarmed teenager with no gang affiliation and wounded three others, including a 10-year-old girl and her mother;
Martinez pleaded guilty last September to conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, conspiring to commit murder, conspiring to traffic crack cocaine, selling crack cocaine near schools, and illegally possessing a firearm in furtherance of his drug trafficking and violent crimes.
Martinez was a “vital leader” to the BGC subset, or “clique,” known as the Gremlin Riderz, which served as the gang’s “hit squad” and whose members bore tattoos from the 1984 movie “Gremlins,” according to court documents. As leader of the Gremlin Riderz, Martinez “served as the prototype of why and how gangs destroy communities (most often their own) through violence, intimidation, fueling crack cocaine addiction and by contriving a self-serving and morally corrupt ‘code,’” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
Martinez directed the group assault of another BGC member who had also provided information to law enforcement regarding a BGC murder (that fellow gang member was also murdered just over a month later in a case that remains under investigation). Martinez also “direct[ed] the killing of rivals” and discussed the stabbing of a man by a BGC member in front of the victim’s baby because the man was in BGC territory without permission, according to court documents.
Martinez was the lead defendant charged in a 213-page RICO indictment that charged 72 members and associates of the BGC, a street gang that claims territory in South Los Angeles and controls drug sales in an area just west of the “Skid Row” district of Los Angeles. The indictment outlined two decades of criminal conduct, including murders, robberies, extortion, illegal firearms possession, witness intimidation and narcotics trafficking.
In recent months, several other BGC leaders and significant members have been sentenced:
Tracy Harris, aka “Woody,” 51, of Inglewood, was sentenced on May 30 to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to participating in the racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to sell methamphetamine after having been convicted of a prior drug felony, and selling methamphetamine near schools. Harris, a gang leader or “Original Gangster” (OG), had negotiated his leadership position while in prison on a prior federal conviction, dealt drugs and presided over large gang meetings in which he called for enhancing the operations of the gang and increasing punishments for those who violated gang rules.
Roosevelt Sumpter, aka “TuTu,” 43, of Los Angeles, was sentenced on November 7, 2016 to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, illegally possessing a firearm in furtherance of the RICO and drug conspiracies, and selling crack cocaine near schools. Sumpter, also an OG of the gang, was a main supplier of narcotics to BGC members, directed the operation of drug stash house locations in the gang’s territory, and employed other gang members and associates to transport the drugs.
Tyrell Thomas, Sr., aka “Big Rave,” 53, of Los Angeles, was sentenced on January 30 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the racketeering conspiracy and conspiring to distribute crack cocaine. Thomas, also an OG member of the gang, led gang meetings where he instructed younger BGC members to guard the gang’s territory, retaliate against rival gangs, sell drugs, carry firearms, and to not cooperate with law enforcement;
Keefe Dashiell, aka “Bugz,” 48, of Los Angeles, was sentenced last Friday to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to distribute marijuana, and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana near schools. Dashiell, another OG of the gang, operated an illegal marijuana grow that supplied other members of the gang, possessed firearms, and directed other members to obtain firearms and violently guard the gang’s territory against rival gangs.
Akia Pete, aka “Studder Box,” 35, of Gardena, was sentenced on March 13 to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the racketeering conspiracy and conspiring to distribute crack cocaine. Pete was a member of a BGC robbery crew that, armed with firearms, tasers and zip ties, followed victims home from banks and robbed them of their cash.
Juan Tyars, 45, of Los Angeles, was sentenced April 3 to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the racketeering conspiracy and conspiring to distribute crack cocaine. Tyars was a BGC associate who sold crack cocaine, converted powder cocaine into crack for resale by the gang’s members, and carried firearms to protect the gang’s drug selling territory.
Patrick Swaffi, 41, of Los Angeles, was sentenced last Monday to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, selling crack cocaine near schools, and illegally possessing a firearm in furtherance of the RICO and drug conspiracies. Swaffi, a BGC member who admitted to engaging in a shootout with a rival, was a drug dealer who repeatedly carried firearms to further the gang’s drug dealing and to protect its territory.
Kenneth Washington, aka “Tiny Dulow,” 26, of Los Angeles, was sentenced on January 30 to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the racketeering conspiracy and conspiring to distribute crack cocaine. Washington was a member of the Gremlin Riderz hit squad and participated in a violent takeover robbery of a jewelry store that netted over $40,000, sold drugs, carried firearms, committed robbery, and directed violence by other members of the BGC.
All the defendants discussed above agreed to be banned from living in the BGC territory after their release from prison, and subject to expansive search conditions after their release from prison.
Another BGC and Gremlin Riderz member faces a mandatory life sentence when he is sentenced next month. Tony Gordon, aka “Wodi,” 36, of Freeport, Illinois, was found guilty after a week-long trial at the end of 2016 of conspiring to commit RICO offenses, including murder, extortion, robbery and conspiracy to traffic crack cocaine. Gordon is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Otero on July 17, and because of three narcotics-related prior convictions, he faces life without parole in federal prison.
The RICO indictment charged 72 defendants, 57 of whom have been convicted by guilty plea or at trial. The remaining 15 defendants are scheduled to go on trial in November.
The investigation into BGC was conducted by agents and officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department. Considerable assistance was provided during this investigation by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Torrance Police Department, the Buena Park Police Department, the El Segundo Police Department, the San Bernardino Police Department and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mack Jenkins, Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, and Assistant United States Attorneys Max Shiner and Wilson Park of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.