A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging nine defendants for conspiring to participate in a violent racketeering enterprise known as the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang. The superseding indictment, which was returned on November 9, 2016 and unsealed today, charges nine alleged BGF gang members with conspiring to violate federal racketeering and drug trafficking laws. Two defendants are also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and murder in aid of racketeering, and one of those is also charged with using, carrying and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence; and the other is also charged with possession of ammunition by a felon and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Daniel L. Board Jr. of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Baltimore Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Commissioner Kevin Davis of the Baltimore Police Department; Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
“Prosecuting gangs reduces violence because a large proportion of murders and shootings involve a relatively small number of perpetrators,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Effective prosecutions put the killers out of business and deter others from following in their footsteps.”
“ATF’s primary mission in Baltimore is to identify the most violent criminals in our city and then proactively focus our resources in an effort to remove them from the community,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Daniel L. Board Jr. “This investigation is another example of how ATF is leading the fight against violent crime in Baltimore, and we will continue to work with the Baltimore City Police Department and our state and federal partners as we target the worst of the worst.”
According to the seven count indictment, the defendants are members of an organization known today as the BGF Greenmount Regime, a violent set, or “bubble,” of BGF. During the early years in which it operated, the gang called itself the Young Guerilla Family, or YGF, and consisted mostly of younger people who lived in the 2200, 2300, and 2400 blocks of Barclay Street and Guilford Avenue. YGF members sold drugs throughout the Greenmount Avenue corridor. They also allegedly committed murders, shootings, and armed robberies.
In about mid-2007, YGF members took the BGF oath and became the BGF Greenmount Regime. According to the indictment, the BGF Greenmount Regime continued to sell drugs and commit violent acts, including murders, shootings and robberies, and by mid-2013 controlled the roughly rectangular area bordered by
Greenmount Avenue to the east; Guilford Avenue to the west; 25th Street to the north; and Federal Street to the south, as well as certain offshoots east of Greenmount Avenue, including Mund Park and Cokesbury Avenue.
The following defendants, all of Baltimore, are charged in the indictment unsealed today:
- Gerald Thomas Johnson, a/k/a Geezy, and Gzy Tha Prince, age 34;
- Wesley Jamal Brown, a/k/a Shike White and Wes, age 24;
- David Albert Hunter, a/k/a Lil Dave, and Dave, age 29;
- Montel Harvey, a/k/a Telly, Telephone, and Big Head, age 24;
- Kenneth Jones, a/k/a, K-Slay, and Slay, age 29;
- Kenneth Lee Faison, a/k/a Roscoe, age 27;
- Joseph Laurence Bonds, a/k/a/ Joe, and Yo Gotti, age 35;
- Norman Tyrone Handy, a/k/a Lil Norm, and Norm, age 22; and
- Marquise McCants, a/k/a Digga, age 24.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 2005 Johnson supplied drugs to the YGF members for further distribution and was the leader of YGF. During the conspiracy, the defendants allegedly distributed powder and crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, and oxycodone. BGF Greenmount Regime members and associates purchased, maintained and circulated weapons and firearms for use in criminal activity by BGF members.
In addition, the defendants committed acts of violence, including six murders, shootings, stabbings, a home invasion robbery and other armed robberies. The violent acts were intended to further the gang’s activities, including intimidating witnesses to prevent them from cooperating with law enforcement, protecting the gang’s drug territory, financing the dues paid to BGF, and enforcing gang rules. For example, the indictment alleges that on May 2, 2013, Brown murdered an individual who provided information to law enforcement concerning a robbery and shooting committed by Brown’s half-brother, Handy.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison on the racketeering and drug conspiracies. Johnson and Brown also face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering and life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering. Brown also faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for using, carrying and discharging a gun in relation to a crime of violence. Johnson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, and 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of ammunition.
Law enforcement is still seeking Marquise McCants. Anyone having information can call the ATF 24/7 hotline at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477) or send an email to ATFTips@atf.gov (link sends e-mail) . You can also send a text anonymously via the “ReportIt” mobile app (www.reportit.com (link is external)) using the ATF Baltimore Field Division as the location.
Bonds was arrested on November 14, 2016, had his initial appearance on November 15th, and was ordered to be detained. Faison was arrested on November 15, 2016 and had his initial appearance on November 16, 2016. Faison is detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for November 18, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. Initial appearances for the remaining defendants, who are already in custody, will be scheduled at a later date.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF, FBI, Baltimore City Police Department, Maryland Attorney General’s Office, and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Christina Hoffman, who are prosecuting the case.
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