Baltimore, Maryland – Giovanni Wright, a/k/a "G," age 22, of Elkridge, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to participate in a racketeering conspiracy, discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and the unlawful transfer of firearms, in connection with his membership in the Bloods gang operating primarily out of Howard County, Maryland. Ryan Gladden, a/k/a "Fats," age 26, and Kyle Austin, a/k/a "Fowdy," age 23, pleaded guilty on September 3 and 4, 2012 respectively, to the racketeering conspiracy.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Howard County Police Chief Gary L. Gardner; Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts; and Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino.
The defendants were identified as members of the Bloods as the result of a long term investigation conducted by ATF and the Howard County Police Department. The investigation included four court ordered wiretaps on gang members’ cell phones. The Bloods, a national criminal street gang with members operating in and around Howard County, Maryland, committed violent acts within the gang to maintain discipline, and against rival gangs.
According to his plea agreement, Wright was a member of the Bloods since at least 2010. Wright has supported fellow incarcerated gang members, participated in gang meetings and discussions regarding gang sanctions, and planned retaliation against gang members suspected of cooperation.
For example, on February 22, 2012, Wright and a co-defendant robbed a rival gang member at gunpoint. In January 2013, Wright fired a gun at a victim’s residence as he and another co-defendant drove by in a truck. Two innocent bystanders were outside and their car was damaged in the shooting. Wright also sold firearms with and to fellow gang members who were prohibited from possessing the firearms.
According to his plea agreement, Gladden was a resident of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania who played football on a semi-professional team in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is formerly of Baltimore City and Randallstown, Maryland. Gladden has been a member of the Bloods gang since 2006. He became a leader and knew of violent crimes committed, or being planned by gang members, using guns and other dangerous weapons. He was also involved in drug trafficking in Pennsylvania, including marijuana and prescription pain pills.
According to his plea agreement, Austin has been a member of the Leuders Park Bloods gang operating in Baltimore, and an associate of the Bloods operating in Howard County, since August 2011. Austin sold marijuana, prescription pills and crack cocaine. He provided some of the drug profits to a jailed gang leader through Green Dot card numbers. Additionally, on October 22, 2012, Austin and two associates beat an individual as he was getting off an MTA bus and walking on East Patapsco Avenue in Baltimore, and robbed him of his money and cell phone. Austin was arrested on November 6, 2012.
On May 8, 2013, law enforcement executed multiple search warrants and arrested approximately 20 individuals connected with the Bloods gang, including Wright and Gladden. A search warrant was executed at Wright’s residence and firearms and ammunition were seized.
Wright and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Wright will be sentenced to 18 years in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III scheduled sentencing for January 16, 2015, at 9:30 a.m.
Gladden faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy. Austin and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Austin will be sentenced to between 60 and 78 months in prison. Judge Russell scheduled their sentencings for December 12 and December 22, 2014, respectively.
To date, 18 defendants have pleaded guilty to their roles in the racketeering and drug conspiracies.
Mr. Rosenstein commended the ATF, Howard County Police Department, Baltimore Police Department and Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel M. Yasser and Sandra Wilkinson, who are prosecuting the case.