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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 13, 2018

Baltimore BGF Gang Member Sentenced to Over 7 Years in Federal Prison for a Racketeering Conspiracy Related to His Gang Activities

Baltimore, Maryland – Chief United States District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Joseph Laurence Bonds, a/k/a/ Joe, a/k/a Yo Gotti, age 36, to 90 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiring to participate in a violent racketeering enterprise known as the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang’s Greenmount Avenue Regime.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

According to Bonds’ plea agreement, he was a member of an organization known as the BGF Greenmount Avenue Regime, a violent set, or “bubble,” of BGF.  During the early years in which it operated, the gang called itself the Young Guerilla Family, or YGF, and consisted mostly of younger people who lived in the 2200, 2300, and 2400 blocks of Barclay Street and Guilford Avenue.  YGF members sold drugs throughout the Greenmount Avenue corridor and committed murders, shootings, and armed robberies.   In about mid-2007, YGF members took the BGF oath and became the BGF Greenmount Avenue Regime. 

Bonds admitted that the BGF Greenmount Avenue Regime continued to sell drugs and commit violent acts, including murders, shootings, and robberies, and by mid-2013 controlled the roughly rectangular area bordered by Greenmount Avenue to the east; Guilford Avenue to the west; 25th Street to the north; and Federal Street to the south, as well as certain offshoots east of Greenmount Avenue, including Mund Park and Cokesbury Avenue.

Bonds admitted that between 2005 and 2016, he conspired with members of the BGF Greenmount Avenue Regime to distribute crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and marijuana in furtherance of the gang.  According to his plea agreement, on June 6, 2008, Bonds and another BGF member possessed cocaine with the intent to distribute it, and had $390 in cash.  Bonds further admitted that on July 20, 2005, another member of the gang used a .32-caliber revolver belonging to Bonds to murder someone.  Bonds later took the revolver back.  On October 23, 2013, Bonds possessed a loaded .357 revolver.  Bonds knew that he was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition as a result of previous felony convictions.

Eight co-defendants, also members of the BGF gang, have previously pleaded guilty or were found to be guilty after trial of racketeering and drug trafficking laws.  Seven of them have been sentenced, including the leader of the gang, Gerald Thomas Johnson, a/k/a “Geezy,” age 35; and Kenneth Jones, a/k/a “K-Slay”, and “Slay,” age 30, who were each sentenced to life in prison.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF, the FBI, the Baltimore Police Department, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, and the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Christina Hoffman, who prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated July 13, 2018