March 14, 2016 (DOJ)- Four members of the West Coast Crips criminal street gang were convicted by a federal jury today of participating in a racketeering enterprise involving execution-style murders, a takeover robbery, witness intimidation and other acts of violence.
The jury found defendants Terry Carry Hollins, Jermaine Gerald Cook, Marcus Anthony Foreman and Wilbert Ross guilty of Conspiracy to Conduct Enterprise Affairs Through a Pattern of Racketeering Activity at the conclusion of a five-week trial and about eight hours of deliberations. The jury also found Ross guilty of two counts of sex trafficking. U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw set sentencing for June 24, 2016 at 1 p.m. The defendants face up to life in prison.
The four convicted defendants were arrested and charged in 2014 as part of a larger investigation involving 36 other defendants. Thirty-four have pleaded guilty. One, Cleotha Young, went to trial in June 2015, was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The lead defendant, Randy Graves, is set for trial on March 28, 2016.
“As a result of today’s verdicts, and the dozens of guilty pleas that preceded them, these ruthless and ultra-violent gang members will likely serve decades in prison, unable to further terrorize San Diego neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “Today, Hollins, Cook, Foreman and Ross were held accountable for executing their friends, random people, and anyone else who dared to challenge them. With this verdict, the jury has said, ‘Enough!’”
“Today’s convictions are an example of the FBI’s commitment to working with our law enforcement partners in identifying, disrupting and dismantling violent street gangs that prey upon the vulnerable and threaten the safety of our communities” commented FBI Special Agent in Charge, Eric S. Birnbaum. “The FBI and our partners will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who victimize our communities and undermine the safety and security of our neighborhoods.”
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 the gangs are increasingly acting as organized criminal enterprises.
During this trial, prosecutors set out to show the jury how the defendants worked together as a criminal enterprise to commit six murders, to use a 15-year-old girl and another female as prostitutes, and to commit robbery on behalf of the West Coast Crips.
The government called about 100 witnesses, including several street gang members, a shooting victim, friends and associates of the defendants, representatives from the Medical Examiner’s Office and dozens of San Diego Police Department homicide and gang detectives, police officers and criminalists.
The evidence presented by the government included court-authorized wiretap interceptions and recordings of telephone, cell phone and jailhouse conversations between the defendants and others, as well as cell phone videos of the defendants celebrating their West Coast Crips membership and discussing the crimes they were committing.
The jury found that the defendants acted as a criminal enterprise to commit the following murders and other violent acts:
- Defendant Cook fatally shot Joseph Hutchins, a 19-year-old who was fatally shot while riding his bicycle down Orange Avenue for wearing a red shirt, the color of a rival gang.
- Defendant Foreman approached the victim, Andres Caldera, asked for a cigarette then issued a gang challenge to him: “Where are you from?” When Caldera answered by asking where Foreman was from, Foreman yelled, “I am from West Coast 30s!” and pulled out a .40-caliber handgun, firing a single shot at Caldera’s face.
- Foreman, Ross and Hollins robbed a Logan Heights business in takeover style, forcing employees onto the floor and holding guns to their heads. During a police chase, the trio ditched their getaway car and the gun, but officers arrested all three and recovered the gun – which was the same gun used in the murder of Caldera.
- West Coast Crip member Meashal Fairley was murdered in front of a San Diego nightclub because of Fairley’s suspected cooperation with law enforcement. Hollins and Cook were connected to the scene of the crime through DNA evidence.
- Another killing occurred in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. Defendant Ross had a dispute with a man over a rental car. They set up a meeting at the restaurant, supposedly to resolve the dispute. But upon arrival, the man was attacked by a group of West Coast Crips led by Ross. In self-defense, the man fatally stabbed one of his attackers, Jeffrey “JJ” Rees.
- West Coast Crips member Paris Hill was murdered by fellow Crips for giving a statement to police about the Rees murder. In one recording, Hollins told his cellmates: “That’s how we did the boy…When it was time . . . I seen it all in his face . . . but cuz blue, he was a gangster though. And he
knew that . . . it was his doing.” Prosecutors argued before the jury that this was an admission that he participated in Hill’s murder.
- Chyrene Borgen, a West Coast Crip associate, was gunned down at a Halloween party after she had criticized the defendants for murdering Meashal Fairley. Following this murder, several defendants posted photos of themselves on Facebook from the murder scene. Defendant Hollins is wearing a T-shirt that said: “3 BABIEZ, YELLOW TAPE GANG, ANYBODY KILLA.” The defendants appeared on cell phone videos boasting about their crimes.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd Robinson, David Leshner, Jose Castillo and Stephen Wong.
These guilty verdicts are the fruit of the collaborative work of the FBI’s East County Regional Gang Task Force and the Violent Crimes Gang Task Force, the San Diego Police Department’s gang and homicide units; 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.
Case Number: 14mj1494
Terry Carry Hollins Age: 33 San Diego
Jermaine Gerald Cook Age: 31 San Diego
Marcus Anthony Foreman Age: 28 San Diego
Wilbert Ross Age: 32 Chula Vista
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.
Sex Trafficking of a Minor, in violation of 18 USC 1591
Maximum Penalty: Life in prison
Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud or Coercion, in violation of 18 USC 1591
Maximum Penalty: Life in prison
San Diego Police Department Gang and Homicide Units
East County Regional Gang Task Force
Violent Crimes Task Force – Gang Group
Task Force agencies include:
San Diego Police Department
El Cajon Police Department
La Mesa Police Department
San Diego County Probation
U.S. Postal Inspectors
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
California Highway Patrol.