Final Cherry Hill Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Participating in Racketeering Conspiracy Including Murdering an Individual Believed to be a Rival Gang Member
Baltimore, Maryland – Travis Alewine, a/k/a “Sticks,” age 30, of Baltimore, Maryland pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise in connection with his membership in the “Hillside” gang, operating in the Cherry Hill neighborhood of Baltimore.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; and Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department.
“Travis Alewine and his fellow gang members have terrorized the Cherry Hill community for years,” said United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement and community partners to remove violent actors, like Alewine, from the street and make our communities safer.”
“The Hillside gang terrorized Cherry Hill for years,” said ATF Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby. “The gang members pushed drugs into the community, threatened violence constantly, and even took the lives of others. ATF is proud to work alongside our partners in this case whose goal is the same as ours—to continue taking offenders like these off the street and create a safer Baltimore.”
According to his guilty plea, Alewine was a member of “Hillside” a group which operated in the 600 block of Cherry Hill Road and other locations throughout Cherry Hill and in west and southwest Baltimore. Members of Hillside distributed powder and crack cocaine, heroin, oxycodone and marijuana, and used the proceeds of their narcotics sales to purchase firearms, to enrich themselves, and to further the activities of the organization, including narcotics trafficking. Hillside members operated stash houses in Cherry Hill to cut and package narcotics for distribution and committed acts of violence, including robberies, homicides, and non-fatal shootings.
As stated in Alewine’s plea agreement, Hillside members and associates have been in a long-running dispute with persons not part of the gang, including Up Da Hill (“UDH”), the Lakebrook Circle Boys, and others. Members and associates of Hillside have engaged in acts of violence, including murder, directed at members of these rival organizations, or persons who impeded on Hillside’s territory. Alewine knew members of Hillside sold narcotics and committed violent acts against rival gangs or others who impeded on Hillside’s territory. It was reasonably foreseeable to Alewine that Hillside was responsible for the distribution of between one and three kilograms of heroin; between 280 grams and 840 grams of crack cocaine; between five and 15 kilograms of cocaine; as well as marijuana and oxycodone.
As part of Alewine’s participation in the Hillside enterprise, Alewine and three other members of Hillside discharged a .45-caliber firearm, shooting and killing Anthony Cureton, whom they mistakenly believed was a member of UDH and attempted to murder another individual nearby; Alewine possessed firearms, including a loaded .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol and a loaded .44-caliber revolver; and he possessed with intent to distribute narcotics, as well as participated in the preparation of narcotics for sale.
Alewine and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Alewine will be sentenced to between 180 and 253 months in federal prison. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III, has scheduled sentencing for November 18, 2022, at 3:00 p.m.
All 21 defendants charged in this case, including Alewine, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Eighteen defendants have been sentenced to between 10 and 30 years in federal 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. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin.
This case is also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron praised the ATF, the Baltimore Police Department, and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia C. McLane and Brandon K. Moore, who are prosecuting the case. U.S. Attorney Barron also recognized Paralegal Specialist Andrew Murray and Victim Witness Specialist Shari Heise Forcina for their assistance.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
# # #