Fourteen Members Of A Major Drug Organization That Trafficked Hundreds Of Kilograms Of Cocaine And Fentanyl Sentenced
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Three high-ranking leaders of the Nine Trey Gangsters set of the United Blood Nation (UBN or Bloods) street gang, including the “Godfather” of the organization, who also served as “Chairman” of the UBN, were convicted today of racketeering conspiracy charges.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray for the Western District of North Carolina and Special Agent in Charge John Strong of the FBI Charlotte, North Carolina Field Division, made the announcement.
Pedro Gutierrez, aka Magoo/Light/Inferno, 45; James Baxton, aka Frank White, 44; and Cynthia Gilmore, aka Cynthia Young/Lady Bynt, 42, all of Raleigh, North Carolina, were convicted by a federal jury sitting in Charlotte following a two-week trial.
“This guilty verdict represents a significant blow against the highest leadership of the Nine Trey Gangsters and the United Blood Nation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “It reflects the sustained and extensive commitment by federal, state and local law enforcement, including the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, to disrupt and dismantle this and other prison and street gangs throughout the country.”
“UBN uses violence and intimidation to assert power over our neighborhoods and vicious tactics to bolster the image of an indestructible gang,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “Today’s convictions of three high-ranking leaders delivered a blow to that myth, proving that UBN gangsters are no different than other common criminals – they can and will be found and prosecuted for their crimes. As we continue our efforts to curb gang violence and devastate gang networks in Western North Carolina, we have a message for the UBN and all other criminal organizations: We are coming for you. Person by person, set by set, clique by clique, and leader by leader. You are in our sights. Your gang will be dismantled and you will be held accountable.”
“These leaders of the UBN thought they were untouchable, continuing to run their criminal enterprise from inside state prison,” said Special Agent in Charge Strong. “Today’s guilty verdicts in federal court abruptly put an end to their dirty business. Do not be mistaken, to anyone who tries to fill the criminal void left by these convictions, you should know, we'll come after you next with the full strength of our federal, local, and state law enforcement partners.”,.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the UBN is a violent criminal street gang operating throughout the east coast of the United States since its inception as a prison gang in 1993. UBN members are often identified by their use of the color red, and can also often be identified by common tattoos or burn marks. Examples include: a three-circle pattern, usually burned onto the upper arm, known as a “dog paw”; the acronym “M.O.B.,” which stands for “Member of Bloods”; the words “damu,” or “eastside”; the number five; the five-pointed star; and the five-pointed crown. UBN members have distinct hand signs and written codes, which are used to identify other members and rival gang members. The Nine Trey Gangster set of the UBN refer to themselves as “Billies.”
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the UBN is governed by a common set of 31 rules, known as “The 31,” which were originally written by the founders of the UBN. Members of the UBN are expected to conduct themselves and their illegal activity according to rules and regulations set by their leaders. Prominent among these is a requirement to pay monthly dues to the organization, often in the amounts of $31 or $93. A percentage of these funds are transferred to incarcerated UBN leadership in New York; these funds also are used locally to conduct gang business. UBN gang dues are derived from illegal activity performed by subordinate UBN members including narcotics trafficking, robberies, wire fraud, and bank fraud, among other forms of illegal racketeering activities.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the Nine Trey Gangsters’ leadership proceeds in rank, from lowest to highest, from “Scrap,” “1-Star General” through “5-Star General,” “Low,” “High,” and, “Godfather.” Based on evidence introduced during the trial, Gutierrez was a “Godfather” of the Nine Trey Gangsters and had served since 2003 as the “Chairman” of the council that governs the UBN. Gutierrez, together with James Baxton and Omari Rosero, were “the last ones that God put in power” over the UBN. As the Godfather of the set, Gutierrez, along with Baxton, conducted gang business and participated in the distribution of gang dues while incarcerated in the New York State Department of Corrections. Trial evidence also established that Gutierrez ordered a gang war in North Carolina in 2011 directing that members of the Bloods gang attack and kill members of a renegade gang called Pretty Tony. The war resulted in numerous injuries among inmates and the lockdown of five North Carolina prisons for six months.
Further, trial evidence established that Cynthia Gilmore, who trafficked cocaine, was a local high-ranking officer who routinely traveled from North Carolina to New York to meet with Defendant Gutierrez, acting as his “eyes” and “voice” in the South. The evidence also showed that Baxton was trafficking heroin within the New York State and prison system. He also was calling and threatening the family members of inmates incarcerated in New York State in an effort to obtain money.
In addition to the three defendants convicted at trial today, 35 defendants have previously pleaded guilty in this investigation, including nine defendants in high-ranking leadership positions:
The following defendants have also pleaded guilty in this case:
The investigation was conducted by the FBI; the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department; the Shelby Police Department; the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office; the Gastonia Police Department; the North Carolina State Highway Patrol; the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office; the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice; the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles; the U.S. Federal Probation; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the IRS Criminal Investigation; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command; and the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Office of Special Investigations. Trial Attorneys Andrew L. Creighton and Beth Lipman of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Warren and Christopher Hess for the Western District of North Carolina are prosecuting the case.
This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.