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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fifty-Five Charged In Massive Crackdown On West Coast Crips Street Gang And OthersSome Defendants Charged In RICO Case That Includes Allegations Of Execution-style Murders Of Fellow Gang Members And An Associate

SAN DIEGO, CA – Thirty-five people, many of whom are alleged members and associates of the West Coast Crips criminal street gang, are charged in complaints unsealed today with participating in three drug- and gun-related conspiracies, including one that alleges a racketeering enterprise with execution-style murders, a takeover-style robbery, high-speed chases, witness intimidation and other acts of violence.

At the same time, the District Attorney’s office will be filing charges against 22 defendants in a parallel investigation involving crimes such as robbery, drug sales, and illegal firearm possession and sales.

This morning before dawn, a contingent of more than 500 local, state and federal law enforcement officials hit dozens of locations around the county looking for defendants, guns and drugs. Thirty federal defendants and 19 state defendants are in custody as of 3 p.m. today, and during searches yesterday and over the course of the yearlong investigation, authorities have seized more than 16 firearms, including sawed-off shotguns, pistols and revolvers, many rounds of ammunition plus 4.5 pounds of methamphetamine, 4,400 pounds of marijuana and $300,000 in counterfeit bills.

Five federal defendants are still at large, including Randy Alton Graves, the lead defendant in the racketeering case. Graves is considered armed and dangerous and believed to be driving a baby blue Mercedes with paper license plates. Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI at 858-320-1800.

According to the racketeering complaint, Graves was overheard on court-authorized wiretaps discussing his connections to past killings and his status as a “G,” or senior member. “I got multiples on my jacket…I don’t think it’s too many (expletives) as highly decorated the way I am. I know I got 5, 6 bodies…I got 35 years in and ain’t been around here flexing my muscle cause I’m a G and everybody respects me.”

In another call quoted in the complaint, Graves expressed fear that a female gang associate was going to talk to police about a murder committed by West Coast Crip members. “You run your mouth, you die, period. You run and hide, we get the next closest thing to you, period, no ifs ands or buts.”

The federal racketeering statute known as “RICO” historically has been used to prosecute mobsters and organized crime, but federal prosecutors have been using the statute on street gangs in recent years because they are increasingly acting as organized, sophisticated criminal enterprises.

The federal RICO complaint charges 17 alleged members and associates of the West Coast Crips and describes a criminal enterprise that has committed five murders, numerous attempted murders, armed robberies, high speed chases and other violent crimes, as well as prostitution, money laundering and importation and distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.

Two other complaints charge 12 and 6 people, respectively, with Methamphetamine trafficking conspiracies and firearms offenses. The 12-defendant complaint alleges that for at least a period of time last fall, a methamphetamine source-of-supply was using El Cajon Valley High School students to smuggle methamphetamine into the United States from Mexico. The six-defendant complaint alleges that both WCC and 5/9 Brim gang members worked together to conduct their methamphetamine and other trafficking activities.

The five murders alleged in the RICO conspiracy equate to about ONE-THIRD of all gang-related murders in the city of San Diego in 2013 – and about 13 percent of the overall murder tally in the entire city.

“Today’s RICO charges can be viewed as nothing less than a virtual wrecking ball crashing into the ruthless, ultra-violent West Coast Crips, a gang that has been a scourge on San Diego communities for far too long,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “This violent gang culture has spilled over into our communities with public acts of violence, high-speed chases and the recruitment of kids to be drug couriers. With these charges, we are restoring some peace to our residents.”

“Working cooperatively with our law enforcement partners, we shut down a significant arm of this violent street gang today, pulling dozens of its members off the streets in one coordinated sweep,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said. “The DA’s Gangs Division is proud to participate in targeted operations like this one. It’s an approach that’s working and is disrupting some of San Diego's most violent gangs.”

San Diego FBI Special Agent in Charge, Daphne Hearn, commented, “Today's arrests and charges are the result of two long term multi-agency investigations conducted by two FBI Safe Streets Task Forces, specifically the Violent Crimes Task Force - Gang Group and the East County Regional Gang Task Force. Dedicated personnel from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies worked in unison to go after violent street gang members and associates who pose a serious threat to the safety and security of our communities. The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to restore safety and security to our neighborhoods."

“This is a true collaborative effort by all involved and I am extremely proud of the investigators who made this happen. Many of the offenders arrested today have gang ties to the City of San Diego. This operation combined with continued enforcement will have a positive impact on all of our neighborhoods.”

“This case perfectly demonstrates how agencies share information and work together to increase the reach and depth of their individual investigations. The number of defendants indicted, the variety of the charges filed, the quantities of the drugs and number of firearms seized, and the stiff prison sentences many defendants will face if convicted are the result of committed teamwork,” said Carlos A. Canino, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Los Angeles Field Division.

The West Coast Crips gang has been around for more than 30 years and claims several hundred members. The gang claims territory with borders roughly defined by Interstate 94 to the north, National Avenue to the South, Interstate 5 on the West and Interstate 15 on the east.

Membership can be gained through family connections. Or, some are inducted through acts of violence. All are expected to put in “work,” which in gang jargon means committing criminal acts when asked to.

The West Coast Crips is a hierarchical organization with seniority based on a member’s age. The oldest are referred to as Original Gangsters, or OGs, mostly in their 40s and 50s. They call the shots. They supply younger gang members with guns and drugs and let the youngsters to their dirty work.

The “homies” are in their 30s and early 40s. They’ve already put in the “work” for the gang and have earned the trust of fellow gang members.

The so-called “babies” are the youngest members, in their 20s and 30s. Many create cliques within the larger gang, and maintain a distinct identity. “3-Babiez” is one of the cliques of 20-somethings. The younger generation typically receives drugs from more senior gang members and deals to street users and distributors. This generation also manages prostitutes and enforces discipline on gang members and associates.

The following are key acts of violence alleged in the RICO complaint:

  • Three members of the “3-Babiez” clique - Marcus Anthony Foreman, Wilbert Ross and Terry Carry Hollins – were involved in the fatal shooting of a random Hispanic gang member as revenge for the October 31, 2012 carjacking of West Coast Crip with a .40-caliber handgun.
    According to the complaint, a Crip approached the victim, Andres Caldera, and asked for a cigarette. When Caldera asked where the man was from, he yelled, “I am from West Coast,” pulled out a .40-caliber handgun and fired a single shot at Caldera’s face.

  • A few days after that murder on December 2, 2012, the same trio of defendants robbed a Logan Heights business in takeover style, forcing employees onto the floor and holding guns to their heads, the complaint said. During a police chase, the trio ditched their getaway car and the gun, but officers arrested all three and recovered the gun - which happened to be the same gun used in the Oct. 31 murder.

  • The complaint says that on April 6, 2013, West Coast Crip member Meashal Fairley was murdered in front of a San Diego nightclub during an argument over Fairley’s suspected cooperation with law enforcement.

  • The third killing described in the complaint occurred in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant on October 25, 2013. Defendant Ross had a dispute with a person identified in the complaint as A.H. They set up a meeting at the restaurant, supposedly to resolve the dispute, which was over a rental car. But upon arrival, A.H. was attacked by a group of West Coast Crips led by Ross. In self-defense, A.H. fatally stabbed one of his attackers, Jeffrey “JJ” Rees, the complaint said.

  • Chyrene Borgen, a West Coast Crip associate, was gunned down at a Halloween party early on November 1, 2013, after she had criticized the “3-Babiez” for what she believed was their involvement in Meashal Fairley’s murder, the complaint said. Following this murder, several defendants posted “selfies” on Facebook from the murder scene. One of the defendants is wearing a T-shirt that said: “3 BABIEZ, YELLOW TAPE GANG, ANYBODY KILLA.” About the same time, Cook appeared on a cell phone video along with other members of the 3-Babiez clique in which, as a group, they boasted about how they are willing to kill anybody, including women.

  • A pregnant woman and West Coast Crips member, who is identified in the complaint by the initials K.S., was shot by a 3-Babiez member because she, too, dared to criticize the gang for the murders of her friends Meashal Fairley and Chyrene Borgen, the complaint said. K.S.and her baby survived the shooting, but gang members were still looking to kill her in the hospital.

  • According to the complaint, West Coast Crips member Paris Hill was murdered by fellow Crips for giving a statement to police about the Rees gang-related murder. Within days of Hill’s murder, the gang was already putting hits out on witnesses, the complaint said.

This case is the latest in a series of large-scale, multiagency crackdowns on street gang activity in San Diego County neighborhoods. Including today’s indictments and complaints, more than 350 people, many of them documented gang members and associates, have been charged in a number of major federal gang prosecutions since January of 2012, with scores of guilty pleas entered.

This kind of law enforcement action would not have been possible without our partners from the FBI’s East County Regional Gang Task Force and the Violent Crimes Gang Task Force. Participating agencies include the FBI, the San Diego Police Department’s gang unit; the ATF; the El Cajon Police Department; the La Mesa Police Department; San Diego County Probation; the IRS; U.S. Postal Inspectors; the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department; and the California Highway Patrol.

This investigation was coordinated by an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program was created to consolidate and coordinate all law enforcement resources in this country's battle against major drug trafficking rings, drug kingpins, and money launderers.


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DEFENDANT   Case Number: 14MJ1494
Randy Alton Graves  Age: 50 El Cajon, CA
Darnell James Graves-Butler  Age: 27 El Cajon, CA
Dameon Deshawn Shelton Age: 40 National City, CA
Leon Franklin Age: 39 San Diego, CA
Brandon Lamar Whittle Age: 29 San Diego, CA
Andre Lamar Harrison Age: 44 San Diego, CA
Cleotha Young   Age: 36 San Diego, CA
Sharod Levale Jackson  Age: 45 San Diego, CA
Terry Carry Hollins Age: 32 San Diego, CA
Jermain Gerald Cook   Age: 29 San Diego, CA
Donald Eugene Bandy   Age: 25 San Diego, CA
Marcus Anthony Foreman Age: 26  San Diego, CA
Wilbert Ross   Age: 31 Chula Vista, CA
Brenda Rodriguez Age: 23 San Diego, CA
Gaquayla Aunicia Lagrone Age: 31 San Diego, CA
Solcamire Castro-Hernandez Age: 28 San Diego, CA
Luis Salgado-Viscarra    Age: 26  Spring Valley, CA
     
SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Conspiracy to Conduct Enterprise Affairs Through a Pattern of Racketeering Activity, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1962 (d)

Maximum Penalty, based on the underlying racketeering crimes: Up to life in prison.


DEFENDANT   Case Number: 14MJ1492
David William Centrone   Age: 31  El Cajon, CA
Alexis Rubeiry Beltran-Rodriguez Age: 18 Unknown
Terry Gerald Woods Age: 53 El Cajon, CA
Reuben Carlton Morales Age: 27 El Cajon, CA
Rene Faburrieta  Age: 33  Long Beach, CA
Steven Luis Figueroa Age: 25 Long Beach, CA
Anthony Gilbert Garcia Age: 31 El Cajon, CA
Blake Austin Tenney  Age: 21 El Cajon, CA
Tima Jeanmarie Gates Age: 40 Spring Valley, CA
Jorge Aguilar-Valdez Age: 19  El Cajon, CA
Dean Fredrick Malzahn Age: 51 El Cajon, CA
Mark Manuel Espinosa    Unknown
SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Sections 841 (a)(1) and 846
Maximum Penalties, based on alleged drug amounts: Up to life in prison; 10 year mandatory minimum.

Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to Drug Trafficking Crime, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 924 (c)(1)
Maximum Penalties: Five year mandatory minimum penalty, which must be run consecutive to any other penalty imposed in the case (for the first 924(c) conviction); 25 year mandatory minimum penalty, which must be run consecutive to any other penalty imposed in the case (for each subsequent 924(c) conviction).


DEFENDANT   Case Number: 14MJ1491
William Eugene Wash Age: 27 Lemon Grove, CA
Jessie Smith  Age: 30 San Diego, CA
David Rojas Age: 21 San Diego, CA
Terrence Mack Carter  Age: 29 El Cajon, CA
Terrell Davon Guss Age: 22 Spring Valley, CA
Kevin Darryl Adell  Age: 33 San Diego, CA
 
SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Sections 841 (a)(1) and 846
Maximum Penalties, based on alleged drug amounts: Wash, Smith and Rojas: Up to life in prison; Carter, up to 40 years in prison.

Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Section 841 (a)(1)
Maximum Penalties, based on alleged drug amounts:  Up to 5 years in prison.

Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to Drug Trafficking Crime, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 924 (c)(1)
Maximum Penalties: 5 year mandatory minimum penalty, which must be run consecutive to any other penalty imposed in the case.

Felon in Possession of a Firearm, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2)
Maximum Penalties:  10 years in prison.


INVESTIGATING AGENCY

East County Regional Gang Task Force
Violent Crimes Gang Task Force
Task Force agencies include:
FBI
San Diego Police Department’s gang unit
ATF
El Cajon Police Department
La Mesa Police Department
San Diego County Probation
IRS
U.S. Postal Inspectors
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
California Highway Patrol.

*Indictments and complaints are not evidence that the defendant committed the crime charged.  All defendants are presumed innocent until the United States meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.     

Updated July 23, 2015