Leader of Baltimore Eight Tray Gangsta Crips Pleads Guilty to Federal Racketeering and Drug Conspiracy Charges, Including Three Homicides and Three Non-Fatal Shootings
Defendant Also Admitted He Conspired to Murder a Cooperating Witness
Baltimore, Maryland – The leader of the Eight Tray Gangsta (ETG) Crips gang in Baltimore, Trayvon Hall, a/k/a “Tru,” and “G Tru,” age 31, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to racketeering and drug conspiracy charges.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
The ETG Crips were a violent subset of the Crip gang that originated in California in the 1970s, eventually operating on the streets and in correctional facilities in Maryland beginning in the 2000s. For many years, the ETG Crips controlled the drug trade in particular territories in Baltimore City, including the area around the intersection between West Baltimore Street and South Hilton Street in West Baltimore (the “Baltimore Hilton neighborhood”), the area around the intersection between West Lexington Street and North Fremont Avenue (the “Lexington Terrace neighborhood”), and the area around the intersection between Frankford Avenue and Sinclair Lane in North Baltimore (the “Frankford Sinclair neighborhood”). The ETG Crips members from the Baltimore Hilton and Lexington Terrace neighborhoods referred to themselves as the Baccwest ETG Crips—modeling themselves after the Baccwest ETG Crips in Los Angeles—and ETG Crips members from the Frankford Sinclair neighborhood called themselves the Nutty North Side ETG Crips. The two groups worked together for common criminal purposes.
According to his guilty plea, Trayvon Hall was the leader of the Baccwest ETG Crips in Baltimore, referred to as the “G” of the gang. In about 2013, Hall flew to California to meet with West Coast leaders of the ETG Crips and gain their official approval for his Baccwest ETG Crips set in Baltimore. The Baccwest ETG Crips operated street-level drug distribution “shops” primarily in the Baltimore Hilton neighborhood, the Lexington Terrace neighborhood and the Franklin Sinclair neighborhood, distributing heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana. Non-members of the gang who attempted to sell drugs in the ETG Crips’ territories were targeted for violence by ETG Crips members.
The ETG Crips used social media websites to assert their claim to drug territories, intimidate rival gangs and witnesses against gang members, and to enhance the status of the ETG Crips and of individual members within the gang. Members of the ETG Crips posted photos and rap videos to social media websites flaunting weapons and threatening to kill those who stood in the way of the gang. By participating in criminal activities in furtherance of the gang, particularly violent acts directed by the ETG Crips leadership, ETG Crips members earned respect from fellow members and maintained or advanced their position within the gang.
Hall admitted that he and his co-defendants sold drugs, including heroin and crack cocaine, and committed robberies to earn money for the enterprise. From May 2016 through November 2016, Hall and other ETG Crips conspired to murder members of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang who operated a rival drug shop in the Lexington Terrace neighborhood. On June 23, 2016, ETG Crips members attempted to murder two BGF gang members, instead shooting two victims who were in the area at the time. On July 18, 2016, Hall murdered BGF member Albert Pittman, shooting him to death in the 4800 block of Midline Road. On November 11, 2016, in the 800 block of West Lexington Street, Hall opened fire on members of the rival BGF gang, killing BGF member Shyheim Brown and wounding two other victims. Immediately afterward, Hall sent an unindicted co-conspirator a series of text messages about the shooting, saying he had “Jus bashed the monkeys” (a derogatory term for members of BGF), and they “Wasn’t exspecting [sic] me be out early lmGCao [laughing my Gangster Crip ass off].”
Further, from July 2017 through July 2019, Hall and other members of the ETG Crips conspired to murder members of the Abington Avenue drug trafficking organization, whose territory the ETG Crips had taken over. Hall directed the ETG Crips to use violence to retaliate against anyone who refused to respect the boundaries of their newly claimed turf. Hall admitted that on July 6, 2018, he opened fire on members of the Abington Avenue organization who were playing dice in the unit block of Abington Avenue, killing Steven McKnight and wounding an additional victim. According to the plea agreement, Hall and other ETG members conspired to murder an individual who they believed had cooperated with law enforcement and threatened a witness who testified against a fellow gang member in a state murder trial.
Hall and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Hall will be sentenced to 40 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has not yet scheduled a sentencing date.
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 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
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 commended the FBI and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration, the ATF, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department for their assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Kim Y. Oldham, who are prosecuting the case.
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.
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