Longtime Hoover Criminal Gang Member Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy, Murder in Aid of Racketeering
PORTLAND, Ore.—A second senior member of the Hoover Criminal Gang was sentenced to life in federal prison today for conspiring to commit racketeering through various criminal acts spanning decades, including murder, robbery, and drug dealing.
Ronald Clayton Rhodes, 38, of Portland, was sentenced to life in federal prison plus 10 years and five years’ supervised release.
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 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.
Rhodes joined the Hoovers in 2005 and spent 10 of his 11 years with the gang in prison. In the brief periods of time he spent out of custody, he committed one murder, one attempted murder, one home invasion robbery, and dealt drugs. Rhodes, known by fellow gang members as “Big Fly,” played a leadership role in the gang, setting a violent example for multiple “Lil Fly” gang members who, like Rhodes, committed violent criminal acts to elevate their status in the gang.
On November 7, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a 13-count superseding indictment charging Rhodes; fellow senior Hoover gang member Lorenzo Laron Jones, 50, 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 Rhodes and Jones guilty on multiple counts including racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, and using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. Among other criminal acts, Rhodes was proven to have participated in the murder of Portland resident Kyle Polk on December 16, 2015, near a convenience store in southeast Portland.
On October 26, 2023, Jones was also sentenced to life in federal prison plus ten years.
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.