Baltimore Man Pleads Guilty to Participating in a Violent Racketeering Conspiracy, Including a Murder
Baltimore, Maryland – Zeno Burnette, age 24, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering conspiracy, including attempted murder, in relation to his participation in the violent Baltimore street gang known as Cruddy Conniving Crutballs or “Triple C”.
The guilty plea was announced 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); Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his guilty plea, Burnette admitted that he and other Triple C members engaged in a pattern of criminal racketeering activity between 2015 and 2020, including more than a dozen murders and numerous non-fatal shootings, robberies, and carjackings. The violent criminal acts were committed in the effort to promote the reputation of Triple C and to instill fear in the neighborhood. Other names for the enterprise are “SCL” and recently, “TRD”.
As detailed in his plea agreement, the enterprise financially benefited from, and affected interstate commerce by, selling narcotics, murdering drug dealers, taking contract killings, and engaging in street robberies. Triple C members also robbed dice games for cash and occasionally carjacked vehicles. Members divided the proceeds of the robberies and murders among members who participated, and often contacted each other to commit a robbery if that member needed money.
Also, Triple C members routinely used social media to identify and locate victims and to share information concerning possible retaliation for violent crimes committed by gang members. Triple C members and associates used at least 14 firearms to commit crimes, often trading with each other or other groups to avoid detection through ballistic evidence. They limited conversations about criminal plans to members of Triple C and critiqued each other after committing crimes regarding ways to improve their actions.
Burnette admitted that he participated in at least five attempted murders including the attempted murders of two rival gang members, and the December 2018 murder of Corey Moseley. Burnette also admits that his co-conspirators committed other acts that he did not participate in which included sixteen murders, at least twenty attempted robberies, two robberies, and three carjackings.
Co-defendants Rashaud Nesmith, a/k/a Shaud, age 21, and Michael Chester, a/k/a Mikkie, age 23, both of Baltimore, pled guilty to their participation in a racketeering conspiracy in June 2022. Chester, Nesmith and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts their pleas, Chester will be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and Nesmith will be sentenced to 40 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for Chester of October 7, 2022, at 10 a.m. U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher has scheduled sentencing for Nesmith on October 28, 2022, at 12 p.m.
Burnette and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Burnette will be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for January 6, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
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.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the ATF, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked the FBI and the Office of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia C. McLane, who is 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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