Leader of Bloods Street Gang Sentenced to Life in Prison for Racketeering Murders
Earlier today, Bloods street gang leader Ronald Herron, also known as “Ra Diggs,” was sentenced to 12 terms of life in prison plus 105 years. Herron was convicted on June 26, 2014, following a month-long jury trial, of all counts, including racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, narcotics trafficking conspiracies, robbery, and firearms offenses. The charges arose from Herron’s leadership of a violent set of the Bloods Street Gang that operated in and around the Gowanus and Wyckoff Gardens housing developments in Brooklyn.
The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Diego G. Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.
“For years, Ronald Herron unleashed brutal, unrelenting violence on his community while glorifying his criminal lifestyle as a crack-dealing gangster. Today’s sentence put an end to all of that, for good,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Herron styled himself a rap artist, but the evidence proved that he was a murderous thug who sought power through violence, fear, and intimidation. Let today’s sentence send a message to other gang members who terrorize their own communities: we and our federal and city law enforcement partners will not tolerate such heinous criminal conduct.” Ms. Lynch expressed her thanks to the agents and investigators from the FBI and NYPD who worked relentlessly to dismantle this violent gang and bring Herron to justice.
At trial, the government proved that Herron committed numerous crimes of violence in support of his drug trafficking operation around two New York City public housing communities located in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn. In 2001, Herron murdered Frederick Brooks. Herron was acquitted of that murder in state court after witnesses refused to testify because they were threatened by Herron and his associates. After being released from state custody and consolidating his control over the drug trade in Gowanus and Wyckoff Gardens, Herron murdered Richard Russo in 2008 and Victor Zapata in 2009.
Herron boasted about his exploits in songs and videos in which he identified himself as the leader of the “Murderous Mad Dogs” set of the Bloods Street Gang and claimed that he had previously “beat a body.” Presented with overwhelming evidence of Herron’s criminal conduct, including testimony from more than 50 witnesses, the jury rejected Herron’s claim that he was merely an aspiring rap artist and not a murderer.
Herron’s conviction followed dozens of successful prosecutions over the past decade conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with the FBI and NYPD, of violent gang members and drug dealers from the Gowanus and Wyckoff Gardens housing developments.
The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Shreve Ariail, Sam Nitze, and Rena Paul are in charge of the prosecution.
RONALD HERRON, also known as “Ra Diggs”
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 10 CR 615 (NGG)