LOS ANGELES – A leader of the Bounty Hunter Bloods (BHB) street gang pleaded guilty today to federal drug and firearms charges for leading a manufacturing and distribution of crack cocaine conspiracy in and around the gang’s “territory” of the Nickerson Gardens public housing projects in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Damion Baker, 45, a.k.a. “Fatts,” of Compton, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Baker is the lead defendant in an April 2021 indictment targeting members and associates of the BHB street gang for drug- and firearm-related crimes.
According to his plea agreement, from August 2019 to May 2020, Baker organized and led a drug trafficking conspiracy in which he and his accomplices agreed to distribute cocaine. Specifically, Baker arranged to obtain powder cocaine from at least two drug suppliers. He then directed his co-conspirators to cook, and would himself cook, the powder cocaine and manufacture it into crack cocaine to sell to customers, including back to his powder cocaine suppliers to sell in crack form.
Baker directed his accomplices in the packaging, sale, and delivery of crack cocaine to customers, which included co-conspirators and other BHB gang members. Baker also directed the receipt and storage of drug proceeds throughout BHB-claimed territory in South Los Angeles.
As part of these activities, Baker arranged for an accomplice’s residence in the Nickerson Gardens housing projects in Watts to be used as a stash house in which Baker and his co-conspirators continuously sold crack cocaine over a period of many months. Baker recruited and hired co-conspirators to work at the Watts stash house and directed them in selling narcotics to customers there and in nearby areas, restocking the stash house’s drug supply, and transporting drug proceeds to Baker and other accomplices at various locations.
Baker admitted in his plea agreement to possessing a firearm in May 2020. He was not permitted to do so because he previously had been convicted of felonies in Los Angeles Superior Court, including a cocaine possession charge in 1998 and a domestic violence-related charge in 2001. He admitted in his plea agreement that he possessed the firearm for the purpose of protecting his crack cocaine distribution business.
Baker also agreed to forfeit the firearm and $44,600 in cash law enforcement seized at his residence in Compton and at another residence in San Pedro.
United States District Judge Fernando L. Aenlle-Rocha scheduled a July 14 sentencing hearing, at which time Baker will face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a statutory maximum of 40 years in federal prison for the drug trafficking conspiracy charge, and up 10 years in federal prison for the firearms offense.
The other 11 defendants in this indictment either have pleaded guilty or signed plea agreements in this case and await sentencing. Another BHB gang member, and Baker’s second in command in the drug trafficking conspiracy, Tony Carr, 52, a.k.a. “T-Bone,” of Watts, pleaded guilty in July 2022 to one count of cocaine trafficking conspiracy and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Judge Aenlle-Rocha sentenced Carr to 188 months in federal prison.
In April 2021, law enforcement conducted a takedown in which 22 BHB members and associates were charged in a total of nine federal grand jury indictments. Of those 22 defendants, prosecutors have secured 19 convictions.
The FBI’s Los Angeles Metropolitan Task Force on Violent Gangs, which consists of the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Amy E. Pomerantz of the Violent and Organized Crime Section is prosecuting this case.