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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 14, 2019

Two Men Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy Involving Murder

NORFOLK, Va. – Two Portsmouth men were arrested today for their alleged roles in a racketeering conspiracy that included the murder of 23-year-old Delante Eley.

A federal grand jury returned a 13-count indictment on March 6, charging Rashaun Taylor, aka “Diablo”, 31, and Timothy Sawyer-House, aka “Trouble”, 28, with racketeering conspiracy, attempted robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, and distribution of heroin and fentanyl. Taylor was also charged with the capital-eligible offense of murder in aid of racketeering and use of a firearm resulting in death.

According to the indictment, the two men allegedly were members of a Portsmouth-based “set” of the Nine Trey Gangsters (NTG), a gang affiliated with the United Blood Nation. The indictment alleges that on March 11, 2014, after a series of incidents between Delante Eley and members of Taylor’s gang, Taylor and Sawyer-House followed Eley to his home, where Taylor shot and killed Eley. Two days later, Taylor, Sawyer-House, and others attempted to rob a drug dealer of cash, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana while armed with a high powered Romanian-made semi-automatic rifle.

The indictment also alleges that Taylor and Sawyer-House sold heroin and fentanyl.

If convicted of the charged murder, Taylor would be eligible for the death penalty or a mandatory life sentence. If Sawyer-House is convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation Billy Club. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, and Tonya D. Chapman, Chief of Portsmouth Police, made the announcement following the arrest of both men. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John F. Butler and Andrew C. Bosse are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:19-cr-36.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated March 14, 2019