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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Three Defendants Indicted For Conspiracy To Commit Murder, Drug Trafficking, And Related Crimes

Allegations include a $5,000 murder-for-hire plot resulting in the death of the targeted victim

SAN FRANCISCO –  A federal grand jury in San Francisco returned a superseding indictment charging Marcus Etienne, a.k.a. Hitler, Mario Robinson, and Burte Gucci Rhodes, a.k.a. Moeshawn, with murder-for-hire, a number of firearms and drug distribution offenses, and related crimes, announced United States Attorney Alex G. Tse, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett and Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Tara Sullivan.  Etienne and Robinson also are charged with racketeering conspiracy.  The superseding indictment, filed today, amends racketeering, murder, and conspiracy charges originally filed February 16, 2017, and updated August 3, 2017, against Etienne, Robinson, and other defendants.  

The charges stem from a multi-state marijuana trafficking organization and the murder of Trince Thibodeaux on March 22, 2016, at 90th Ave. and International Boulevard in Oakland, Calif.  The superseding indictment alleges that Etienne, 37, of Opelousas, La., ran an enterprise consisting of more than five members who conducted a continuing and extensive narcotics conspiracy and criminal organization.  The criminal organization and conspiracy distributed marijuana from California to Louisiana and Texas.  

The superseding indictment filed today makes clear that Etienne conspired with, Robinson, 35, of Oakland, and Rhodes, 37, of Oakland, to murder Thibodeaux on March 22, 2016, in Oakland.  According to the indictment, Rhodes shot and killed Thibodeaux and $5000 was promised in exchange for the murder.  

Etienne and Robinson also are charged with racketeering conspiracy and being part of an enterprise referred to in the indictment as the “Etienne Enterprise,” based in St. Martin Parish La. The Etienne Enterprise engaged in narcotics distribution, assault, robbery, extortion, extortionate collection of extensions of credit, murder for hire, murder, money laundering, illegal firearms possession, and obstruction of justice.  Among the activities of the racketeering conspiracy was a gambling operation through a large-scale dogfighting ring.  The racketeering conspiracy existed since January 7, 2013, and its members operated in Louisiana, in the Northern District of California, in Texas, and elsewhere. 

The defendants are charged in the superseding indictment as follows:
 

DEFENDANT

CHARGES

STATUTE

MAXIMUM STATUTORY PENALTY

Marcus Etienne a/k/a Hitler

Conspiracy to Distribute and possess with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana

21 U.S.C. § 846, 841, and (b)(1)(A)

Not less than 10 years or more than life in prison

$10,000,000 fine

 

After filing of prior conviction, if applicable, not less than 20 years or more than life in prison and

$20,000,000 fine

Murder during a narcotics offense

21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A)

Not less than 20 years and not more than live in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Use or possession of a firearm in murder

18 U.S.C. § 924(j)

Not less than 10 years or more than life in prison. 

 

$250,000 fine

Conspiracy to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

Life in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Murder in aid of racketeering

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1)

Mandatory life in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Conspiracy to commit murder in aid or racketeering

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5)

Ten years in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Murder for hire

18 U.S.C. § 1958

Mandatory life in prison

 

$250,000

Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 371

Five years in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(3)

20 years in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Conspiracy to commit money laundering

18 U.S.C. § 1956(h)

20 years in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Money laundering

(2 counts)

18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(A)(i) and (a)(1)(B)(i)

(each count)

20 years in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Mario Robinson

Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana

21 U.S.C. § 846, 841, and (b)(1)(A)

Not less than 10 years or more than life in prison

$10,000,000 fine

 

After filing of prior conviction, if applicable, not less than 20 years or more than life in prison and

$20,000,000 fine

Murder during a narcotics offense

21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A)

Not less than 20 years and not more than live in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Use or possession of firearm in murder

18 U.S.C. § 924(j)

Not less than 10 years or more than life in prison. 

 

$250,000 fine

Conspiracy to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

Life in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Murder in aid of racketeering

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1)

Mandatory life in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Murder for hire

18 U.S.C. § 1958

Mandatory life in prison

 

$250,000

Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 371

Five years in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Conspiracy to commit money laundering

18 U.S.C. § 1956(h)

20 years in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Money laundering

(3 counts)

18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(A)(i) and (a)(1)(B)(i)

(each count)

20 years in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Burte Gucci Rhodes

a/k/a Moeshawn

Murder for hire

18 U.S.C. § 1958

Mandatory life in prison

 

$250,000

Use or possession of a firearm to commit murder

18 U.S.C. § 924(j)

Not less than 10 years or more than life in prison. 

 

$250,000 fine

Conspiracy        

18 U.S.C. § 371

Five years in prison

 

$250,000 fine

Possession with intent to distribute heroin

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(i)

Not less than 5 years or more than 40 years in prison

 

$5,000,000 fine

Possession of firearms in connection with drug trafficking offenses

18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) & (B)

Not less than 5 and 10 years consecutive in prison

 

$250,000 fine

 

Additional fines, forfeitures, restitution, and special assessments also may be imposed.  However, any sentence after conviction would 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.   

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendants is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  

Etienne remains in custody based on the February 16, 2017, indictment.  Robinson was arrested in Louisiana on August 4, 2017, and appeared on August 7, in federal court in the Western District of Louisiana.  Rhodes was arrested December 5, 2018, on a federal arrest warrant.  The case is assigned to the Honorable William Alsup, United States District Judge, for the Northern District of California.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Meredith Osborn and William Frentzen with the assistance of Jessica Meegan and Bridget Kilkenny.  This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s San Francisco, New Orleans, Houston Divisions; IRS-CI; Oakland Police Department; with the assistance from the St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, Sheriff’s Office, Opelousas, Louisiana Police Department.

Updated December 18, 2018