Three Members of The Rollin' 30s Crips Convicted At Trial
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Dermot Shea, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), and Peter C. Fitzhugh, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced that yesterday, RANDY TORRES, a/k/a “Rico,” 38, WALSTON OWEN, a/k/a “Purp,” 36, and CHARLES VENTURA, a/k/a “Gutta,” 27, were convicted of racketeering charges relating to their involvement in the violent Rollin’ 30s Crips street gang. OWEN and VENTURA were also found guilty of attempted murders in aid of racketeering and related firearms offenses. The convictions followed a fifteen-day trial before United States District Judge Victor Marrero.
The jury found that TORRES’s involvement in the Rollin’ 30s racketeering conspiracy included the September 19, 2015 murder of Nester Suazo and that OWEN’s involvement included the March 26, 2015 murder of Victor Chafla. Suazo was killed after Torres and other gang members fought with members of a rival Crip faction at a music video shoot in the Bronx. Chafla, an innocent bystander, was caught in the crossfire during an attempt by Rollin’ 30s members to shoot at a member of an opposing street gang in the Bronx. At the time he was shot, Chafla was standing outside the store where he worked stocking fruits and vegetables. Chafla died from his wounds a few days later.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As the jury unanimously found, the defendants were members of a violent gang, and were responsible for multiple murders. Thanks to the dedication of our partners at the NYPD and HSI, the defendants now stand convicted in federal court for their crimes.”
According to the allegations contained in the Superseding Indictments and other documents in the public record, and the evidence at trial:
From at least in or about 2009 up to and including in or about 2017, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, RANDY TORRES, a/k/a “Rico,” WALSTON OWEN, a/k/a “Purpose,” CHARLES VENTURA, a/k/a “Gutta,” and others were members or associates of a racketeering enterprise known as the “Rollin’ 30s,” also known as the “Harlem Mafia Crips,” or “Dirt Gang.” In order to fund the enterprise, protect and expand its interests, and promote its standing, members and associates of the Rollin’ 30s committed, conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, and robbery; and they conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute narcotics.
OWEN and VENTURA each face a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment; all three defendants face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Sentencing of the defendants has been scheduled for July 10, 2020.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD and HSI.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica K. Fender, Anden Chow, and Jacqueline C. Kelly are in charge of the prosecution.