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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 8, 2018

Two Members Of “Central Divisadero Players” Gang Sentenced To Multiple Life Sentences For Murder And Pimping

SAN FRANCISCO – Charles Heard (aka “Cheese”), and Jaquain Young (aka “Loc”), were sentenced today to multiple terms of life in prison, announced Acting United States Attorney Alex Tse and FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  The sentences were handed down by the Honorable William Orrick, U.S. District Judge.

Heard, 33, and Young, 44, as well as co-defendants Adrian Gordon (aka “Tit”), 29, Esau Ferdinand (aka “Sauce”), 35, and Monzell Harding, Jr., 26, were each convicted of racketeering charges by a federal jury on March 5, 2018.  The verdict followed a 14-week trial in which the jury heard evidence about the San Francisco gang referred to as Central Divisadero Players, often referred to as Central Divis Playas or CDP.

“The multiple life sentences handed down today is the just punishment under the law for the proven heinous crimes of violence,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tse.  “This office will zealously advocate for the strongest sentences in these gang related crimes to vindicate the rights of victims and protect our community against crimes of violence.”

Heard was convicted of murdering Andre Helton and Isiah Turner in a double-homicide that took place on August 14, 2008, near the University of San Francisco.  He was also convicted of racketeering conspiracy.

Young was convicted of murdering Andre’s brother, Jelvon Helton, at the Gravity bar in the Marina District of San Francisco on November 1, 2010.  In addition, Young was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, as well as separate pimping charges – including attempting to entice and persuade a minor to engage in prostitution between August 9, 2012, and March 11, 2013.

Judge Orrick sentenced Heard to four life sentences for the murders of Turner and Andre Helton.  He sentenced Young to three life sentences for the murder of Jelvon Helton and one life sentence for the attempted pimping of a minor, plus a ten-year sentence to run consecutively for a related firearms charge.  Judge Orrick also sentenced Young to 20 years in prison (the statutory maximum) for attempting to persuade an individual to travel for prostitution.

The defendants currently are in custody and will begin serving their sentences immediately.  Defendants Ferdinand, Gordon, and Harding will be sentenced on June 29, 2018.  Any sentence for these individuals 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.  

Gordon, Heard, Ferdinand, Young, and Harding, 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)

 

10 years in prison (mandatory minimum) consecutive to 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)

 

Life in prison (mandatory minimum) and a $250,000 fine

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

 

Life in prison (mandatory minimum) 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)

 

Life in prison (mandatory minimum) 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)

 

10 years in prison (mandatory minimum) consecutive to 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

 

As described in the chart above, the jury concluded that Adrian Gordon attempted to murder Victim 3, that Charles Heard murdered Andre Helton and Isiah Turner, and that Jaquain Young murdered Jelvon Helton.  The evidence at trial also demonstrated that the gang intimidated victims, potential victims, and community members through violence and threats of violence.    

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, and Bayview Stations; San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; and the San Pablo Police Department.

Updated June 8, 2018