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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 5, 2018

Five Members Of “Central Divisadero Players” Gang Convicted Of Various Racketeering Crimes Including Murder

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal jury convicted Adrian Gordon (aka “Tit”), Charles Heard (aka “Cheese”), Esau Ferdinand (aka “Sauce”), Monzell Harding, Jr., and Jaquain Young (aka “Loc”) today of racketeering, murder, and conspiracy charges, announced Acting United States Attorney Alex Tse and FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  The verdict follows a 14-week trial in which the jury heard evidence about the San Francisco gang referred to as Central Divisadero Players, aka Central Divis Playas, aka CDP.

“This office is 100% committed to eradicating violent gang activity from our community, for the safety of all who live and visit the Bay Area,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tse.  “The evidence produced at the trial in this case makes crystal clear why we must not flinch from pursuing this goal with all necessary resources.  I want to express my sincere gratitude to the FBI, the police departments of San Francisco and San Pablo, and the San Francisco DA for their partnership, hard work, and commitment to bring these criminals to justice.  I also want to acknowledge the brave victims who came forward during trial despite threats against their safety, and the well-being of their loved ones.  Combatting gang violence is a dangerous endeavor, and as a community we must work together and stand tall to defeat the gangs.”

“Today marks a victory in our tireless and collective effort to rid our neighborhoods of violent gangs whose brazen activities pervade our community and threaten the safety of our citizens,” said Special Agent in Charge Bennett.  “These convictions send a clear message that we are committed to dismantling dangerous criminal enterprises and will hold their members accountable for their actions.”

Gordon, 29; Heard, 33; Ferdinand, 35; Young, 44; and Harding, 26, were the first five defendants to stand trial for crimes alleged in an eleven-defendant, 22-count second superseding indictment filed on August 14, 2014.  The indictment described CDP as a racketeering organization that worked collectively with other gangs in the Western Addition of San Francisco to preserve and protect power, territory, reputation, and profits of the enterprise through the use of intimidation, violence, assaults, and murder.  During the trial, the jury heard evidence that the five defendants, all from San Francisco, each played a role in the racketeering conspiracy whose crimes ranged from murder to pimping.  The jury concluded that the five defendants were guilty of the following specific crimes:  
 

Defendant

Found Guilty of the Following Charges

Maximum Penalties

All Five Defendants

Racketeering conspiracy

in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

Life in prison and a $250,000 fine

Racketeering, including murder,

in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

Life in prison and a $250,000 fine

Gordon

Attempted racketeering murder of Victim 3 on May 20, 2011,

in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5)

10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine

Racketeering assault with a dangerous weapon May 20, 2011,

on Victim 3, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(3)

20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine

Use, carry, brandishing, or discharge of a firearm during a crime of

violence during the May 20, 2011, assault with a deadly weapon

of Victim 3, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)

Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison consecutive to every term of imprisonment for other offenses

Heard

Racketeering murder of Andre Helton on August 14, 2008, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1)

Mandatory life in prison and a $250,000 fine

Racketeering murder of Isiah Turner on August 14, 2008, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1)

Mandatory life in prison and a $250,000 fine

Use of a firearm in aid of the August 14, 2008, racketeering murders of Andre Helton and Isiah Turner, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j)(1)

Life in prison and a $250,000 fine

Young

Racketeering murder of Jelvon Helton on November 1, 2010, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1)

Mandatory life in prison and a $250,000 fine

Use, carry, brandishing, or discharge of a firearm in connection with November 1, 2010, murder in aid of racketeering of Jelvon Helton, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)

Life in prison with a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison consecutive to every term of imprisonment for other offenses

Use of a firearm in aid of the November 1, 2010, racketeering murder of Jelvon Helton, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j)(1)

Life in prison and a $250,000 fine

Attempting to entice and persuade an individual to travel for prostitution (from August 9, 2012, to March 11, 2013), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(a)

20 years in prison and fine of $250,000

Attempting to entice and persuade a minor to engage in prostitution (from

August 9, 2012, to March 11, 2013),

in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b)

Life in prison (10 years mandatory minimum) and fine of $250,000

 

Any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.  

As described in the chart above, the jury concluded that Charles Heard murdered Andre Helton and Isiah Turner, that Jaquain Young murdered Jelvon Helton, and that Adrian Gordon attempted to murder another victim.  The evidence at trial also demonstrated that the gang intimidated victims, potential victims, and community members through violence and threats of violence.    

The defendants all are in custody pending sentencing.  Judge Orrick has not yet scheduled a date for sentencing. 

The prosecution is the result of joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; San Francisco Police Department’s Gang Task Force, Homicide Detail, Robbery Detail, Special Victims Unit, and the Northern, Park, Southern, Central, Taraval, and Bayview Stations; San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; and the San Pablo Police Department.
 

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated March 5, 2018