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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 26, 2019

Second Hoover Criminal Gang Member Indicted for Racketeering After Murder of Portland Man

PORTLAND, Ore.—Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, announced today that a second Hoover Criminal Gang member has been indicted for the 2015 murder of Portland resident Kyle Polk.

            Ronald Clayton Rhodes, 34, is charged with murder in aid of racketeering, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and causing the death of Polk through the use of a firearm.

            The indictment alleges that on December 16, 2015, Rhodes, along with co-defendant Javier Fernando Hernandez, 23, also of Portland, murdered Polk 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.

Rhodes made his initial appearance in federal court today and was detained pending a four-week jury trial on November 12, 2019 before U.S. Chief District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman. Hernandez and Rhodes face the same charges and will stand trial together.

Murder in aid of racketeering carries 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 were 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 and Homeland Security Investigations 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated September 26, 2019