Southern Oregon Man Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Federal Prison After Boobytrapped Home Injures Federal Officer
PORTLAND, Ore.—A longtime Hoover Criminal Gang member who for more than thirty years engaged in a violent pattern of criminal racketeering activity, including numerous acts of murder, robbery, and drug distribution, was sentenced today to life in federal prison.
Lorenzo Laron Jones, 50, a Portland resident, was sentenced to life in federal prison plus 10 years and five years’ supervised release.
“The Hoovers are a notorious violent criminal organization and Lorenzo Jones was among the gang’s most senior and violent members,” said Natalie Wight, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “This prosecution is an important milestone in our effort to combat gun violence in Portland and surrounding communities. We will continue working with our partners to investigate and prosecute violent gangs that disrupt the security and safety of our neighborhoods.”
“Lorenzo Jones was not only a leader of a violent street gang, he was also recruiting and grooming kids on the streets of Portland to carry out violent acts on behalf of this gang. He’s been referred to as a ‘shot caller’, but he’s actually a violent criminal who used guns and drugs to wreak havoc on our shared community,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office. “Jones will now spend the rest of his life where he belongs, in federal prison. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to disrupting and dismantling the most violent criminal organizations in Oregon to ensure a safer community.”
“For decades, the Portland Police Bureau has consistently worked to address the public safety threat posed by organized criminal gangs,” said Portland Chief of Police Bob Day. “This sentence will send a powerful message that organizations that engage in criminal violence will be held accountable. We are grateful for our partnerships with skilled investigators and federal prosecutors with whom we have collaborated to achieve this important sentence, and look forward to continuing this critical work toward making our community safer.”
“Through years of collaboration and multijurisdictional cooperation, a violent criminal is no longer in our community,” said Multnomah County Sheriff Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell. “MCSO will continue investing in this important investigative work, so that crime victims and survivors get justice. Together with our partners, we are building safer and stronger communities.”
According to court documents, the Hoovers are a criminal street gang operating in Oregon known to engage in acts of violence including murder, robbery, and drug dealing. 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.
The Hoovers are rivals with many Portland gangs, including multiple Blood and Crip sets, and are self-described “everybody killers.” Hoover members are expected to use violence to retaliate any perceived slight or actual act of violence against a Hoover member or ally.
Jones is longtime member and self-proclaimed “shot caller” of the Hoovers who rose through the ranks of the criminal organization from baby gangster to gangster to original gangster. Multiple witnesses described Jones as a “big homie” who played a leadership role in the gang, mentoring younger members and recruits, and using them to conduct business and violence for the gang.
On November 7, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a 13-count superseding indictment charging Jones; fellow senior Hoover gang member Ronald Clayton Rhodes, 38, also of Portland; and two accomplices with racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence and causing death using a firearm.
On October 19, 2022, a federal jury in Portland found Jones and Rhodes guilty on multiple counts including racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, and using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. During trial, the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Jones murdered Wilbert Butler on September 17, 2017, in Portland. Jones was also proven to have engaged in multiple attempted murders, illegally possessed firearms as a convicted felon, and distributed controlled substances throughout the Portland area.
On October 27, 2023, Rhodes will be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane. Like Jones, Rhodes faces a mandatory sentence of life in federal prison.
As part of the government’s ongoing investigation into the Hoover Criminal Gang’s racketeering activities, several other Hoover members and associates face pending federal charges or have been convicted and sentenced in federal court for crimes committed in support or on behalf of the gang’s criminal enterprise.
This case was investigated by the FBI, Portland Police Bureau, and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Gresham Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Eugene Police Department, and Oregon State Police Forensic Services Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.
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.
This prosecution is the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the U.S. by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.