Members and Associates of Violent Street Gang Charged with Narcotics and Weapons Violations in Latest Phase of Operation Thumbs Down
Over 500 hundred law enforcement officers and agents served arrest warrants this morning during the latest phase of Operation Thumbs Down, a 30-month investigation targeting members and associates of the Rollin’ 30s Harlem Crips, a South Los Angeles street gang that ranks among the Los Angeles Police Department’s top targeted street gangs. The announcement was made on behalf of the task force by André Birotte, Jr., the United States Attorney in Los Angeles; Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of FBI in Los Angeles; Charlie Beck, the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department; and Mike Feuer, the city attorney in Los Angeles.
Twenty-three defendants currently charged in federal indictments are in custody following this morning’s Operation Thumbs Down, an investigation initiated in 2011 to identify and target members of the Rollin’ 30s Harlem Crips, a gang known for violence in the community it claims as its territory.
The indictments filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles and unsealed this morning, charge the defendants for their roles in a drug distribution network. The violations charged in the indictments include possession of cocaine base (crack) with intent to distribute; conspiracy; and felon in possession of a firearm.
Four defendants charged were already in custody on unrelated charges, and six are considered fugitives currently being sought by task force members. The investigation was called Thumbs Down by the task force in reference to hand gestures used by this gang, including two thumbs pointed upward, representing the “H” in the word “Harlem.”
The Rollin’ 30s Crips is a multi-generational violent gang that operates primarily in South Los Angeles and has ties to other gangs with whom they are known to have violent disputes. The Rollin’ 30s is composed of three factions, known as “cliques” or “sets,” identified as “The Avenues,” “Denker Park,” and “39th Street.” Each clique claims different geographical territories within the gang’s overall claimed territory and has its own respective leaders or “shotcallers,” who direct the gang’s criminal activity. Law enforcement estimates there are between 700 and 1,000 Rollin’ 30s gang members. During Operations Thumbs Down, task force members targeted these “shotcallers” within the Rollin’ 30s’ criminal enterprise.
Last August, 21 members and associates of the Rollin’ 30s Harlem Crips were indicted federally in Los Angeles, and, since the operation began, nearly 100 members or associates of the gang were charged by the state with a variety of weapons and narcotics violations in connection with Operation Thumbs Down.
Those charged in the indictments being announced today are listed below:
- Jabar Lamont Antwine, aka “Brougham,” age 41, Los Angeles
- Earl Baptist, Jr., aka “E,” 34, Los Angeles
- Jerrod Lorenzo Baptist, aka “Baby Mac,” 29, Los Angeles
- Jhamar Lanier Baptist, aka “Lil Mac,” 30, in State Custody
- Leroy Betancourt, aka “Crafty 9,” 28, in State Custody
- David Lee Dorsey, aka “Dizz,” 43, Los Angeles
- Neakeia Starr Ellerbe, aka “Nekia,” 36, Los Angeles (Fugitive)
- Rudolph Emmanual Engleton, aka”C-Cat,” 24, In State Custody
- Gregory Fuller, aka “Sneaks,” 32, Los Angeles (Fuller)
- Jose Gonzalez, aka “Jose Chavez,” 32, Los Angeles
- Anthony Guytan, III, aka “Pluto,” of Colorado
- Anthony Christopher Hamilton (Tyler), aka “Lil Psycho,” 37, In State Custody
- Dawone Hazzard, aka “Head,” 42, Las Vegas, NV (Fugitive)
- Tedgar Henriques, aka “T-Gar,” 39, Los Angeles (Fugitive)
- Charles Ray Hodge, aka “C-Note,” 51, Los Angeles
- James Holiday, aka “Doc,” 48, Los Angeles
- Kurt Livingston, aka “Dirk,” 39, Los Angeles (Fugitive)
- Marleena Ontiveros, 37, Los Angeles
- Clayton Curtis Pitts, aka “G-Cash,” 26, Los Angeles
- Bennie Story, Jr., aka “Ben,” 49, Los Angeles (Fugitive)
- Dorell Tatum, aka “Pop Nose,” Los Angeles
- Terry Traylor, aka “T-Money,” 52, Los Angeles
- Marcus Washington, aka “Killa Watt,” 40, Los Angeles
During the investigation, the task force augmented its suppression efforts by partnering with agencies in order to address long-term community stability. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed three nuisance abatement lawsuits against properties allegedly controlled by Rollin’ 30s and 40s gangs.
Crime statistics indicate there have been at least 29 homicides in recent years in the gang’s territory, which incorporates the neighborhood between Jefferson Avenue, Martin Luther King Avenue, Normandie Avenue, and Crenshaw Avenue. In addition, more than 1,100 robberies and more than 1,000 aggravated assaults have been reported in the 1.5 square mile area that comprises the gang’s claimed territory. The Rollin’ 30s Harlem Crips is also suspected of committing a series of residential or “knock-knock” burglaries, referred to by the gang as “floccin.” Police departments in multiple counties throughout Southern California are investigating members of the Rollin’ 30s Harlem Crips in connection with these robberies.
The four defendants who were already incarcerated on unrelated charges are expected to be transferred to federal custody.
Many of the federal defendants face mandatory-minimum prison terms of five years, depending on the quantities of narcotics alleged and individual criminal histories, and maximum statutory penalties of life in federal prison. The defendants arrested today will make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles this afternoon.
This case is the result of an investigation by members of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Task Force on Violent Gangs, including, the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Los Angeles Police Department; the United States Attorney’s Office; the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office; and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Multiple agencies assisted the task force during this investigation and today’s operation, including the Department of Child and Family Services; the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation; and Los Angeles County Department of Probation.
The federal defendants will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. Additional information about violent street gangs across America can be found at http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/2011-national-gang-threat-assessment.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.