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Fauquier gang members convicted by federal jury

Wednesday, Mar. 5 | By Julie Taylor
A federal court convicted eight people with Fauquier County ties on charges of street gang crime.

On Feb 28, William Sykes, also known as “Black,” 29, of Bealeton, and Thaddaeus Snow, also known as “Storm,” 34, of Manassas, were convicted of charges that included conspiracy to commit racketeering, violence in aid of racketeering, robbery, conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force and coercion, and firearms offenses. according to the Department of Justice press release.

"Illegal street gangs has been a growing problem in northern Virginia," said Commonwealth's Attorney James Fisher. "We have begun to experience this in Fauquier County. The law enforcement authorities here in Fauquier continue to be vigilant in their enforcement measures, and my office zealously prosecutes any and all gang related crime."

Fauquier detectives assisted in the investigation – a multi-agency crime sweep called “Operation: Ruby Red,” for several years, said Lt. James Hartman of the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office.

"We now have a full-time gang detective to identify gangs and gang members and emerging trends and crimes in Fauquier and to effect the arrest of individual gang members and groups involved. We have been very proactive in training our personnel in identifying and recording gang activity and members. FCSO is a member of the Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Taskforce operated by Virginia State Police in Culpeper and other state/federal task forces in the Northern VA area," Hartman said.

Warrenton Police Department Chief Louis Battle said, "One of the tell-tale signs of a gang is graffiti. The graffiti signifies the territory the gang has claimed as theirs. In our agency, if a complaint is received regarding any graffiti, the photographs are evaluated and sent to an agent assigned to the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force to determine the validity associated to a gang."

"Despite the common association of graffiti with gangs, graffiti is widely found in jurisdictions of all sizes, and graffiti offenders are by no means limited to gangs. These type cases are vigorously investigated to determine any nexus to a gang, group or individuals," Battle said.

The penalties

The defendants face a maximum penalty of life in prison when they are sentenced on May 9, 2014. Snow faces a mandatory minimum of forty years in prison, and Sykes faces a minimum of twenty years, according to the release.

“These defendants and their fellow gang members threatened the safety of our communities by committing acts of violence, dealing drugs, and dehumanizing women through prostitution by force and coercion,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Boente.

“The multiple convictions returned by the jury today send a clear message to members of these violent criminal enterprises: we will not tolerate your illegal activities,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “The FBI, through the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force and our partners in local law enforcement, will continue to track down and arrest these brutal gang members who resort to using violent acts in an attempt to threaten our communities.”

Snow and Sykes were indicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 26, 2013, along with 22 other members and associates of the Nine Trey Gangsters street gang, on similar charges.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, the Nine Trey Gangsters are a Bloods street gang set of the United Blood Nation that was founded in New York City in the early 1970s.

The activity

Thaddaeus Snow led a “line-up” of the Nine Trey Gangsters, including Bealeton resident Sykes, which operated as a criminal enterprise in Virginia and committed criminal activity in multiple states. From 2008 until the date of the indictment, Snow’s line-ups of Nine Trey gangsters engaged in racketeering activity involving the sex trafficking of women using force and coercion in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, New York and elsewhere; the commission of robberies; and the distribution of cocaine, crack, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy and prescription painkillers. The evidence at trial also showed that Snow, Sykes and other Nine Trey Gangsters dealt in counterfeit United States currency and used counterfeit currency to finance wholesale drug purchases.

Hartman said that sex trafficking is not common, "This was the first time in a long time that we have encountered this level of human trafficking or prostitution in this community."
In addition, the evidence at trial showed that Snow and his subordinate gang members undertook several acts of violence.

On April 1, 2010, Snow directed Nine Trey Gangsters to give a female victim a “buck-fifty,” consisting of slashing the woman’s face with a knife from mouth to ear with the aim of requiring 150 stitches to close the wound, because the woman had stolen proceeds of Snow’s drug sales and used some of Snow’s drug supply. Sykes slashed the woman's face at an apartment in Fauquier.

Sykes and other gang members beat a man unconscious who may have stolen drugs from a gang member, and Sykes also committed a shooting on April 12, 2010, after the shooting victims became involved in a dispute with one of the gang members. Additionally, Sykes slapped and choked a prostitute when she concealed money she earned from him.

"This sentencing has effectively removed a certain criminal element directly from Fauquier County streets and neighborhoods," said Hartman. "We have received an enormous amount of help and support from the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force, Fairfax County Police Dept and Herndon Police Dept in these investigations. However, it’s not over."

“This is one success, there are other gangs and gang members and supporting crimes under investigation in Fauquier County so it doesn’t end here. When we talk about it some members of the community find it hard to believe, but things have changed and gangs are here," said Hartman.

Snow and Sykes were convicted following a trial that began on Feb. 11, 2014. The following individuals named in the indictment previously pleaded guilty, admitted their involvement with the Nine Trey Gangsters and have been sentenced in federal court:

Deontae Holland, also known as “D-Boy,” 27, of Bealeton, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Markeith Kerns, also known as “LTK,” 20, of Summerduck, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Janee Yates, also known as “Alizia,” 24, of Warrenton, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Aayron Marshal, also known as “Mook ,” 23, of Warrenton, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Lionel Ritchie, also known as “Boogie,” 30, of Remington, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

Candy Minor, 29, of Fredericksburg, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. She was sentenced to two years in prison.

The following individuals named in the indictment previously pleaded guilty, admitted their involvement with the Nine Trey Gangsters and are awaiting sentencing:

George Williams, also known as “Champ,” 29, of Bealeton, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

William Sharp Manning also known as “Ill Will,” 25, of Warrenton, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.

The total number of Nine Trey Gangster gang members and associates recently convicted in the Eastern District of Virginia is now 37 individuals, according to the Department of Justice's press release.
Battle said, "We are pleased with the sentencing and without the cooperative effort of multiple law enforcement agencies both Federal and State, this could not have been accomplished. It is a never ending job, as there will always be someone to take their places. We are always gratified when a violent criminal is sentenced to prison."

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