Second South Los Angeles Gang Leader Sentenced to Life Without Parole in Federal Prison for Distributing PCP
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 04, 2011|
LOS ANGELES—The leader of a South Los Angeles street gang, who was convicted of organizing and leading a wide-ranging conspiracy to manufacture and distribute large quantities of the drug phencyclidine—better known as PCP—was sentenced today to life without parole in federal prison.
Alphonso Eugene Foster, 41, a leader of the Grape Street Crips street gang, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge S. James Otero. Prior to his conviction in this case, Foster had sustained numerous felony convictions related to drug trafficking and robbery.
Foster is the second defendant to receive a life sentence as the result of a long-term investigation into the drug-trafficking activities of the Grape Street Crips. On November 8, 2010, Judge Otero sentenced Kim Vernell Walker, 47, a leader of the Santana Block Crips street gang, to life in federal prison for being one of the leaders of the PCP-distribution conspiracy. Walker also had numerous prior convictions for felonies related to drug trafficking, including PCP.
In March 2010, a federal jury convicted Foster and Walker of several felony offenses related to their conspiracy to manufacture and distribute PCP, including the possession of various precursor chemicals made to use the dangerous drug. As part of the conspiracy, Foster, Walker, and others produced hundreds of gallons of PCP at various locations in South Los Angeles and San Bernardino County, including a residence in Landers that Walker had purchased through a straw buyer solely for the purpose of manufacturing PCP. In March 2007, authorities seized Foster and Walker’s clandestine PCP laboratory in Landers, where defendants were in the midst of an ongoing PCP “cook” that would have likely yielded hundreds of gallons of PCP with a street value of well over $1 million.
In order to obtain the precursor chemicals needed to manufacture the highly flammable and hazardous PCP, Foster and Walker opened a graffiti removal business in San Bernardino as a front for ordering the otherwise illegal precursor chemicals.
Foster and Walker manufactured and possessed hundreds of gallons of PCP over the course of the conspiracy. Foster, Walker, and other defendants made large profits distributing the PCP throughout South Los Angeles and to cities on the East Coast. During the course of the investigation, investigators seized 40 gallons of PCP destined for Philadelphia that was hidden on a car-transport truck that police had stopped in Missouri.
The investigation led to the arrest of 12 defendants in the spring of 2008 and resulted in several significant seizures of PCP and hundreds of gallons of highly toxic precursor chemicals. In addition to Foster and Walker, 10 other defendants have been convicted for their roles in the PCP trafficking conspiracy. Those other defendants have received prison terms ranging from four years to almost 25 years. Among the defendants previously sentenced in the PCP conspiracy was Michael Edward Baker—a key player in the conspiracy, responsible for large-volume street sales of PCP in the Watts area of Los Angeles—who was sentenced to 292 months in prison in July 2010.
The investigation into the PCP trafficking ring was conducted through the coordinated efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Los Angeles Police Department; the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department; and several other local law enforcement agencies.
CONTACT: Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecutors:
Assistant United States Attorney E. Martin Estrada, (213) 894-3358
Assistant United States Attorney Terrence P. Mann, (213) 894-2438
Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Trutanich, (213) 894-2438