PORTLAND, Ore.—Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, announced today that Lorenzo Laron Jones, 46, a Portland resident and senior member of the Hoover Criminal Gang, has been indicted for his role in a racketeering conspiracy that caused the shooting deaths of two Portland men.
Jones is charged with racketeering conspiracy and two counts each of murder in aid of racketeering, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and causing death through the use of a firearm.
The superseding indictment alleges that beginning in June 1989, Jones engaged in a 30-year pattern of violent racketeering activity for the purpose of maintaining and increasing his position in the Hoover Criminal Gang, a criminal enterprise engaged in racketeering in California, Oregon, Washington and elsewhere.
Jones is alleged to have murdered Ascensio Genchi Garcia on July 19, 1998 and Wilbert Butler on September 17, 2017, both in Portland. Additionally, he is accused of attempting to murder six other people, possessing stolen firearms, and distributing cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
Jones made his initial appearance in federal court today and was detained pending a four-week jury trial before U.S. Chief District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman.
Jones is named alongside fellow Hoover gang members Ronald Clayton Rhodes, 34, and Javier Fernando Hernandez, 23, both of Portland, in the superseding indictment unsealed today. Rhodes and Hernandez were previously charged with murder in aid of racketeering, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and causing death through the use of a firearm for the December 16, 2015 murder of Portland resident Kyle Polk.
Jones, Rhodes and Hernandez will be tried together and each face a maximum sentence of death or life in prison.
According to the indictment, the Hoovers are a criminal street gang operating in Oregon, and are known to engage in acts of violence including murder, assault, robbery, sex trafficking and the distribution of narcotics. The Hoovers originated in Los Angeles in the late 1960s and established a presence in Portland in the early 1980s. The gang has a loose hierarchical structure in which members have different amounts of power and influence based on age and gang activity. To maintain status and increase one’s position in the gang, members are expected to carry out violence on behalf of the enterprise.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Gresham Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.
An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.