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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 25, 2020

Peoria Street Gang Members Sentenced for RICO Gang Violence, Murder

PEORIA, Ill. – Sentencing hearings have concluded for 13 members of the Peoria street gang known as “Bomb Squad” who were convicted in December 2019, for conspiring to operate as a criminal enterprise. The defendants were convicted of conspiring under the RICO statute (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), to commit murder, attempted murder, arson, drug trafficking and gun violence to protect itself, its members, and associates from rival gangs and to protect the standing and reputation of the gang from 2013 to 2018.

Evidence presented in court during seven weeks of trial and two weeks of sentencing hearings detailed the group’s use of deadly violence, including four murders, more than 20 shootings, and two residential arsons, to intimidate rival gangs, along with social media where the group brazenly touted and glorified its violence. Innocent people were tragically caught in the crossfire, including an 11-year-old girl who was struck and injured by a bullet that passed through the front of the home where she was asleep on a sofa, and the murder of a bystander, a Bradley University freshman, in April 2018, as a bullet passed through the head of a rival gang member and killed her.

Over the past two weeks, U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid presided in individual hearings to sentence each defendant for his respective role and activity in the conspiracy:

Eugene Haywood, 26

life plus 10 years

 

Raevaughn Rogers, 20

20 years

Torieuanno White, 26

40 years

 

Kenwan Crowe, 21

20 years

Ezra Johnson, 24

37 years

 

Mytrez Flora, 26

20 years

Lloyd Dotson, 29

35 years

 

Kentrevion Watkins, 21

19 years

Keith Gregory, 21

30 years

 

Andre Neal-Ford, 22

14 years

Jahlin Wilson, 23

29 years

 

Sherman Williams, 25

12 ½ years

Lance Washington, 24

28 years

 

 

 

           

“These sentences are appropriate and should send a message to others that violent, lawless behavior will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney John Milhiser. “We will continue our efforts with federal, state and local partners to reduce violent crime by using all available resources, including federal RICO statutes that target dangerous groups in our communities. There is no higher priority than keeping our communities safe.” Milhiser commended the coordination and work of the ATF, Peoria Police Department, and the Illinois State Police to successfully prosecute these individuals. Milhiser also recognized U.S. Marshal Brendan Heffner and his team for their work and invaluable support throughout this case prosecution to provide safe apprehension of the defendants, and to maintain security throughout seven weeks of trial for 13 defendants.

“The severity of these sentences sends a strong message to these defendants that we will not tolerate their terrorizing the community with violence,” remarked ATF Special Agent in Charge Kristen deTineo of the Chicago Field Division. “We are grateful to our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their commitment to this important investigation and prosecution.”

Peoria Chief of Police Loren Marion III stated: “We will not allow individuals or groups to take over neighborhoods in our community. It is our priority to keep our community safe and remove those who seek to terrorize and instill fear in our city. These sentences should serve as a warning to any group looking to take the place of the “Bomb Squad” members who are headed to prison. We will continue our efforts in working with federal and state law enforcement partners to bring dangerous criminals or enterprises to justice.”

Each of the defendants has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since the charges were returned by the grand jury in June 2018. Each will be transferred to the federal Bureau of Prisons to serve his respective sentence. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Peoria Police Department conducted the investigation with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration and Illinois State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ronald L. Hanna, Adam W. Ghrist, and Douglas F. McMeyer represented the government in the investigation and prosecution of the case in the Peoria Division, Central District of Illinois.

The charges are the result of an ongoing investigation by an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies working together to identify, disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations and violent street gangs.

In addition, this case is prosecuted under Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a federal program designed to bring together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The program was reinvigorated in 2017 as part of the Department of Justice’s renewed focus to target each community’s most violent criminals.

 

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated June 25, 2020