Detroit One Collaboration Leads to Five Guilty Pleas for Latin Count Gang Members on Racketeering Charges
Detroit One collaboration of local, state and federal law enforcement has led to the guilty pleas of five Latin Counts street gang members for racketeering conspiracy involving murder and drug trafficking, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
The pleas were unsealed today and occurred during the past week in federal court in Ann Arbor. All five defendants pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, and each faces 30 years in prison. The five gang members are:
- Devin Dantzler, 21, of Ecorse;
- Victor Vasquez, 26, of Detroit;
- Jonathan Estrada, 27, of Lincoln Park;
- Jesus Rodriguez, 25, of Lincoln Park; and
- Angel Rodriguez, 21, of Lincoln Park.
According to the racketeering indictment, the Latin Counts gang operates in southwest Detroit and the downriver communities of Lincoln Park and Ecorse. The indictment alleges that 11 defendants committed assaults, murder, trafficking in drugs and stolen firearms, robbery and breaking and entering homes and businesses. The indictment alleges that the gang uses violence to stake out its “turf” and to intimidate both rival gang members and the citizens of southwest Detroit.
As part of their guilty pleas, Dantzler and Victor Vasquez took responsibility for causing the death of Mustafa Al-Yasiry at the Big Apple Market in southwest Detroit on April 18, 2014. According to the indictment, several Latin Counts assaulted Al-Yasiry, and Dantzler shot and killed him. Three other gang members have already pleaded guilty for their roles in this murder. Similarly, as part of their pleas, Estrada and the two Rodriguez brothers took responsibility for participating in the killing of Terrence McClearen and the shooting of another victim on August 18, 2013.
Under the Detroit One Initiative, and through the lead efforts of the Detroit Police Department and the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, which consists of representatives of Homeland Security Investigations, Detroit Police Department, Lincoln Park Police Department, Michigan Department of Corrections, and Michigan State Police, investigators were able to merge separate probes of various members of this organization and its activities into one encompassing investigation.
“By working together, the Detroit One partners are systematically dismantling the street gangs that cause violent crime in our neighborhoods,” McQuade said. “We want to take back our streets from violent gangs so that Detroit residents can enjoy the safe quality of life that we all deserve.”
“The success of the Detroit One initiative is evident in the continued disruption, arrest and prosecution of these violent gang members in our communities” said Chief James Craig. “The collaboration of law enforcement agencies certainly plays a key role in returning the neighborhoods back to the people.”
“These guilty pleas demonstrate law enforcement's resolve to stopping the escalating violence linked to gang activity”, stated HSI Acting Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis. "Removing criminal gang members from the streets will ensure that they are no longer in a position to wreak havoc in our neighborhoods and threaten the public's safety."
"Once again, the Detroit One Initiative and its ongoing dynamic law enforcement collaborations have proven highly effective in combating some of the most violent and heinous criminals in our community”, said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit Division. "Success, in these cases, is a direct result of ongoing joint investigative efforts like this led by the FBI’s multi-agency Violent Gang Task Force, which is comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. It is through these joint ventures and the Detroit One Initiative we are routinely and effectively force multiplying by leveraging resources to help keep our neighborhoods and communities safe from the threats gang violence poses to our citizens”.
Detroit One is a collaborative effort between law enforcement and the community to reduce homicide and other violent crime in Detroit. By working together, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies strive to maximize their ability to identify and arrest individuals and groups initiating violence in Detroit. Since its launch in 2013, homicides are down 20% and non-fatal shootings are down 25% in the City of Detroit. A comparison between the four-year period since Detroit One began with the prior four-year period shows 174 fewer homicides in the city.
These pleas are the latest in a string of charges from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office during the last four years involving violent street gangs in the city of Detroit, including:
19 members/associates of the Seven Mile Blood street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;
Nine members of the Bounty Hunter Bloods street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;
14 members of the Phantom Outlaw Motorcycle Club/Vice Lords street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;
Four Vice Lord members in state court for armed robbery and a Vice Lord leader charged under the federal street gang statute for his role in that armed robbery;
Nine Vice Lords members for racketeering charges stemming from the shooting of four individuals at their family residence on Detroit’s northwest side;
Three members of the Band Crew street gang charged under the state of Michigan gang felony statute for violent acts in furtherance of their gang activities and eight members of the Band Crew for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;
10 members of the RTM street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;
11 members of the 6 Mile Chedda Grove street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;
14 members of the Rollin’ 60s Crips street gang for federal racketeering conspiracy and other violent acts in furtherance of racketeering;
Four members of the Band Gang street gang charged under the state of Michigan gang felony statute for violent acts in furtherance of their gang activities and three members of the Band Gang for federal access device fraud/ aggravated identity theft and one member of the same gang charged in federal court with being a felon in possession of a firearm;
24 individuals on drug conspiracy charges for their use of sixteen different houses in the east side Ravendale neighborhood of Detroit, many of them abandoned homes, for distributing heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine between 2013 – 2015; and
14 individuals on federal charges of criminal enterprise, drug distribution or weapons offenses for drug distribution in the west side Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit.