Lansing Gang Members Convicted for Armed Robbery Spree
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 11, 2011|
GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Jordon Jamar Ford, a.k.a. “JD,” 25, and Jasper Burnett Perdue, a.k.a. “Li’l Cinco,” 21, both of Lansing, Michigan, were convicted by a jury for their role in a violent armed robbery gang that committed over 20 robberies of commercial establishments in the greater-Lansing area in the summer of 2009, U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Andrew G. Arena, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Chief Teresa Szymanski, Lansing Police Department, announced today. The convictions of these two men follow the guilty pleas of five others for their role in the robbery spree. The U.S. Attorney, FBI, and Lansing Police Department also are asking the public for information that may lead to the apprehension of one alleged robber who remains at-large.
Lansing Robbery Spree
From January to October 2009, over 20 Lansing-area businesses were victims of a string of violent armed robberies committed by an organized armed robbery gang known as the Fallen Angels. The businesses included gas stations, convenience stores, a check-cashing business, a flower shop, a hot tub business, and a hotel. The robberies increased in violence and frequency in late-June 2009. Law enforcement officials investigating the robberies noted many similarities in the various robberies, including multiple robbers, getaway drivers, similar firearms, including a Tec-9 machine pistol, and the aggressive and violent “take-over” style of the robberies. Various law enforcement agencies came together through an FBI-led, multiagency task force to combat the robberies. The task force consisted of the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives, Lansing Police Department, Lansing Township Police Department, Michigan State Police, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, DeWitt Township Police Department, East Lansing Police Department, and the Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
On July 2, 2009, during the course of one of the gang’s robberies, a gas station clerk was shot and seriously injured. After the shooting, the task force deployed surveillance teams to likely robbery locations to attempt to catch the robbers in the act. Unfortunately, this effort was unsuccessful as the robberies stopped for approximately two weeks. After the two-week period, two additional robberies and an attempted robbery occurred. The reign of terror ended on July 15, 2009 after the robbery of a flower shop. Unlike previous robberies, the robber did not wear gloves and he inadvertently left a fingerprint on the cash register drawer. Lansing Township Police Department identified the fingerprint as belonging to Roderic Payne, Jr., 22, of Lansing. After Payne was arrested, he admitted to robbing the flower shop, but attempted to conceal his involvement and the involvement of others in the flower shop and other robberies.
Law Enforcement Task Force Led by FBI Identifies Violent Robbery Gang
The task force conducted further investigation and discovered that Payne was connected to several other individuals on a rap music record label called “Fallen Angel Records.” Some of these individuals fit the general description of the people involved in the robberies. Ultimately, through intense investigative work, a total of nine people were identified as being members of an armed robbery gang involved in the Lansing-area robbery spree. In addition to Ford, Perdue, and Payne, these individuals included Christopher Kirby, 35, Wilnell Henry, 37, Tyrone Nathan, 43, Vladimir Manso-Zamora, 38, George Walker II, 30, and Trensario Hood, 30. Kirby, Henry, Nathan, Manso-Zamora, and Hood are from Lansing, while Walker is from Saginaw.
Several Gang Members Indicted and Pled Guilty to Robbery and Firearms Charges
Payne ultimately acknowledged his involvement in several robberies and, in April 2010, he pled guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit armed robbery affecting interstate commerce and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a robbery. He was sentenced in October 2010 to nine years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell.
In June 2010, a federal grand jury returned a 22-count indictment charging Ford, Perdue, Henry, Kirby, Nathan, and Manso-Zamora with conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce. The indictment also charged each of these men with various robbery and firearm charges associated with individual robberies. Henry, Kirby, and Nathan pled guilty to various charges, while Ford and Perdue went to trial. Walker pled guilty to a separate felony information charging him with a firearm offense. Henry, Kirby, Nathan, and Walker await sentencing in March 2011. Hood was tried and convicted by the Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for his role in the October 2009 robbery of the Causeway Bay Hotel. He was sentenced to 22.5 years in state prison. Manso-Zamora is still at-large.
Ford and Perdue Convicted by Jury for Role in Several Robberies
At trial, Ford and Perdue faced a combined total of 18 counts. They both faced one count of conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce. Additionally, Ford faced five counts of robbery affecting interstate commerce and five counts of brandishing or discharging a firearm in furtherance of a robbery. Perdue faced six counts of robbery and five firearm counts. The jury found both men guilty of all counts each was charged with.
The evidence at trial revealed that Ford and Perdue had associated with the other men in early 2009 and began committing armed robberies to help fund their aspiring rap music careers. The evidence showed that all of the men were members of street gangs. Henry, Kirby, Nathan, Walker, Ford, and Payne were members of the Vice Lords, while Perdue was a member of the Four Corner Hustlers, an off-shoot of the Vice Lords.
Witnesses testified that Ford and Perdue committed violent acts during several of the robberies. Ford’s violent acts included: hitting a clerk in the head with a gun during a robbery at Louie’s Party Store, throwing a clerk across a room and onto the floor and punching him in the head and neck several times during the robbery of the Famous Taco Restaurant, and firing several shots at a store clerk who was attempting to flee in his vehicle during a robbery at the West Saginaw Party Store. Witnesses testified that Purdue was responsible for shooting the clerk at the July 2, 2009 robbery of the Citgo Gas Station, which almost resulted in the clerk’s death, and for sticking a revolver in the ribs of at least two other victims in two additional robberies.
Ford and Perdue are scheduled to be sentenced on May 18, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker. Ford and Perdue each face mandatory minimum penalties of 107 years in prison for the firearm convictions and up to a maximum of an additional 20 years for each robbery conviction and the conspiracy conviction.
Authorities Request Assistance to Locate Manso-Zamora
Vladimir Manso-Zamora is charged in the indictment with conspiracy, three counts of robbery, and three firearm counts. His involvement was not discovered until several months after the robberies by which time he fled his last known address. Law enforcement believes he is aware of the indictment and is taking active measures to avoid arrest. He should be considered armed and dangerous. He is referred to by a street name of “Link.” Persons with information about his whereabouts are encouraged to contact the FBI at (517) 336-8367, the Lansing Police Department at (517) 483-4600, or Crimestoppers at (517) 483-7867. An indictment is merely and accusation and Manso-Zamora is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Davis acknowledged the collaborative efforts of all the federal, state, and local law enforcement officers involved with bringing these violent gang members to justice.“Investigating, prosecuting, and deterring violent firearm crimes is a priority in this district.” Mr. Davis added, “the lengthy prison sentences these men will receive should serve as a deterrent to all who think it is no big deal to rob a gas station or convenience store. The perpetrators of these crimes were emboldened to commit dozens of robberies because they felt they would not get caught and even if they did, they would not have to serve much time. They were wrong on both accounts.”
“The indictment and convictions are the result of excellent work and cooperation of federal prosecutors and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to bringing violent criminals to justice,” said SAC Arena.
Stuart Dunnings III, Ingham County Prosecutor, noted this case is a direct result of the great working relationship that has developed between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office over the last decade, especially with regard to violent gun crimes.“The Prosecutor’s Office was awarded a federal gun violence prosecution grant in 2001, and had a prosecutor solely dedicated to gun cases from 2002-2005.” Mr. Dunnings added, “After this grant period, we continued to refer gun-related cases to the FBI and U.S. Attorney, because the penalties for violent, gun-related crime in the federal system accurately reflect the toll that such cases have on our communities. We continue to screen and refer cases to federal authorities, and I screen each gun-related case for possible federal intervention. The maintenance of that working relationship over the years has allowed for the smooth facilitation of the interagency cooperation which was necessary for prosecution of the Fallen Angels criminal organization. I believe the federal authorities will agree that Ingham County law enforcement maintains one of the most robust federal-local relationships in the Western District of Michigan.”
Lansing Police Chief Teresa Szymanski echoed these comments, adding ,“The detection, prosecution, and conviction of these violent armed robbers is a testament to the strong regional law enforcement partnerships that we have here in Lansing. The lengthy sentences of these armed robbers should serve notice to those involved in organized criminal activity in the greater Lansing area that such acts will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean C. Maltbie and Brian K. Delaney prosecuted the federal cases and Ingham County Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Michael Cheltenham and Nicole Tlachac prosecuted Trensario Hood.