Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging 10 alleged members of the Eight Tray Gangsta (ETG) Crips gang in Baltimore with racketeering and drug conspiracies, murder and assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, robbery, and related firearms charges. The superseding indictment was returned on September 30, 2020, and unsealed upon the arrest of six of the defendants. Four other defendants were already in custody.
The superseding indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur stated, “This is the second federal indictment filed in several weeks charging Baltimore gang members who terrorize their neighborhoods with drug dealing, gun violence, and witness intimidation. We continue to root out the drivers of violent crime and deadly drug dealing and hold accountable those who bring them to our streets. These defendants now face decades in federal prison, where there are no suspended sentences or parole—ever. And witness intimidation and retaliation will not be tolerated—period. We need the community’s help to continue these efforts.”
“Members of the ‘ETG’ Crips used violence as their calling card, leaving that card all over this neighborhood with a goal of flooding the streets with fear while they tried to tear down our neighborhoods. We cannot let them get away with it,” said Jennifer C. Boone, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. “These indictments send a message to all gang members in West Baltimore and beyond – we will be relentless in our pursuit of violent gang members who have besieged communities like Lexington Terrace and the Baltimore Hilton neighborhood for far too long.”
The ETG Crips were a violent subset of the Crip gang that operated on the streets and in correctional facilities in Maryland and elsewhere. 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 originated in Los Angeles, California in the 1970s, and derived their name from 83rd Street, where they were formed. Within the ETG Crips, various cliques emerged corresponding to different neighborhoods in Los Angeles, such as the Baccwest ETG Crips in West Los Angeles and the Nutty North Side ETG Crips in North Los Angeles. Eventually, the ETG Crips spread across the country, and they became prevalent in Maryland beginning in the 2000s. In Baltimore, 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 allegedly work together for common criminal purposes.
The ETG Crips were organized hierarchically, with members climbing the ranks from “BG” (Baby Gangster), to “YG” (Young Gangster), to “G” (Gangster), to “OG” (Original Gangster), to “OOG” (Original Original Gangster), and so on. ETG Crips members were required to follow certain rules of conduct. Members who violated these rules or who disobeyed an order from a superior were subjected to disciplinary measures called “sanctions,” which ranged from fines to murder. Violations that were punishable by murder included “snitching” (i.e., cooperating with law enforcement); “homosexuality”; and murdering a fellow Crip without a “greenlight” (i.e., authorization and approval from the gang leadership).
According to the 12-count superseding indictment, from at least 2008 through the date of the superseding indictment, the defendants participated in a racketeering conspiracy related to their gang activities, which included murder, robbery, drug distribution, witness tampering, and witness retaliation.
The superseding indictment alleges that the acting leader of the Baccwest ETG Crips in Baltimore was Trayvon Hall, who was referred to as a “G” of the gang. In or 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 ETG Crips operated street-level drug distribution “shops” in Baltimore, distributing heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana, among other controlled substances. Non-members who attempted to sell drugs in the ETG Crips’ territories were targeted for violence by ETG Crips members. The gang’s primary drug shops were located in the Baltimore Hilton neighborhood (which the Baccwest ETG Crips considered to be their headquarters), the Lexington Terrace neighborhood, and the Franklin Sinclair neighborhood.
The ETG Crips allegedly used social media websites to assert their claim to particular drug territories, intimidate rival gangs and witnesses against the gang, enhance the ETG Crips’ status, and enhance individual members’ status within the gang. Members of the ETG Crips posted photographs and rap videos to these social media websites in which they flaunted firearms and threatened to kill those who stood in the way of the gang.
As detailed in the superseding indictment, the defendants sold drugs and committed robberies to earn money for the enterprise. Members of the gang allegedly purchased, maintained, and circulated firearms, which they used to commit murders and robberies, and to further their drug trafficking activity. For instance, from May 2016 through November 2016, 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, murdering 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, the superseding indictment alleges that from July 2017 through July 2019, members of the ETG Crips conspired to murder members of the Abington Avenue drug trafficking organization, whose territory the ETG Crips had taken over. The ETG Crips allegedly murdered two members of the Abington Avenue organization and shot several others. According to the superseding indictment, ETG members also threatened a witness who testified against a fellow gang member in a state murder trial, posting the witness’s photograph on social media, labeling the witness as a “snitch,” and threatening to kill that witness as retaliation.
The following defendants, all from Baltimore, are charged in the superseding indictment:
Trayvon Hall, a/k/a Tru and G-Tru, age 29;
Ronnie Finney, a/k/a Fin, age 34;
Donnell Foster, a/k/a Fuss, age 30;
Daran Hickman, a/k/a Chizzle, age 28;
David Jackson, a/k/a Dev and Lil David, age 25;
Alvin Johnson, a/k/a Jug, age 29;
Keith Pinson, a/k/a Gotti, age 27;
Devon Powell, a/k/a Smuppy, age 29;
Ridgley Shipley, a/k/a Crazy, age 30; and
Marcus Williams, a/k/a Gangsta C and GC, age 32.
If convicted, the defendants all face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the racketeering conspiracy and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison for the drug trafficking conspiracy. Hall also faces a maximum sentence of death or life in federal prison for each of two counts of murder in aid of racketeering. Powell faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering; Powell and Shipley face a maximum of life in prison for using, carrying, brandishing, and/or discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; Shipley faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of two counts of commercial robbery; and Shipley, Powell, and Hall face a maximum of 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. 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 defendants had their initial appearances today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson ordered the defendants be detained pending detention hearings scheduled to begin on Friday, October 9, 2020.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
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.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur 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. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christina A. Hoffman and Peter J. Martinez, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.
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