Three Lead Defendants in Large Racketeering Case Targeting Crips Gang Plead Guilty to Federal Charges, Including Murder Conspiracy
LOS ANGELES – With guilty pleas this week by a leader of the Five Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips (BGC), the three lead defendants in the largest racketeering case currently pending in Los Angeles have now pleaded guilty.
Tyrine Martinez, also known as “Lil’ C-Bone,” 36, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit murder, conspiring to traffic crack cocaine, illegally possessing a firearm and selling crack cocaine near schools.
As a result of guilty pleas before United States District Judge S. James Otero, Martinez faces a potential life sentence and a mandatory minimum term of 15 years in federal prison.
Martinez was among 72 charged in a RICO indictment that targeted 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.
Over the past several weeks, two other key defendants named in a 213-page RICO indictment have pleaded guilty. Tracy Harris, aka “Woody,” 51, of Inglewood, pleaded guilty on August 5 to racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to sell methamphetamine after having been convicted of a prior drug felony, and selling methamphetamine near schools. And, on July 27, Roosevelt Sumpter, aka “TuTu,” 43, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, illegally possessing a firearm, and selling crack cocaine near schools. Harris and Sumpter also face potential life sentences and mandatory minimum sentences of 13 and 15 years, respectively.
In plea agreements filed in United States District Court, these defendants specifically admitted that:
Martinez and Harris were two of the gang’s supervisors, and Sumpter was a veteran “OG” member;
Martinez was a leader of the “Gremlin Riderz,” which served as the gang’s “hit squad” and whose members bore tattoos from the 1984 movie “Gremlins”;
Martinez conspired with other BGC members to murder a fellow gang member who had provided law enforcement information regarding a 2012 BGC gang shooting that killed an unarmed teenager with no gang affiliation and wounded three others, including a 10-year-old girl;
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 later murdered in a case that remains under investigation);
Martinez “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;
Harris 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; and
Martinez and Sumpter were two of the gang’s “central drug suppliers.”
In addition to the admissions, all three defendants agreed to be banned from living in the BGC territory after they are released from prison and to be subject to expansive search conditions.
Martinez and Harris are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Otero on December 19. Sumpter is scheduled to be sentenced on November 7.
“These defendants have now pled guilty to orchestrating a campaign of violence and drug trafficking, bringing danger to the local community and to schools,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “In addition to committing many acts of violence, this gang preyed upon the marginalized residents of Skid Row with illegal drug sales. Cases like this one targeting the leadership and membership of criminal street gangs show my office’s dedication to ridding neighborhoods of gang activity through partnerships with federal and local law enforcement agencies.”
Seventy-one of the defendants named in the indictment have now appeared in federal court to face charges in the indictment (the final defendant is in state custody), which include conspiracy to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), violent crimes in aid of racketeering, a series of robberies that targeted bank customers, weapons offenses, and various drug trafficking charges. Six other top defendants in the case are scheduled to go on trial January 3.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.
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.
Operation Gremlin Riderz is a result of a partnership between the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department under the auspices of the FBI’s Task Force on Violent Crime in the City of Los Angeles. This task force is one of dozens of such partnerships throughout the United States, known as Safe Streets Task Forces, funded for the purpose of assisting local police in identifying and addressing violent crime in America.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mack Jenkins 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.