Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Devon Powell, a/k/a “Smuppy,” age 32, of Baltimore, today to 235 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for racketeering and drug conspiracy charges, related to his activities as a member of the Eight Tray Gangster (ETG) Crips gang in Baltimore.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
The ETG Crips are a violent subset of the Crips gang that originated in California in the 1970s, eventually operating on the streets and in correctional facilities in Maryland beginning in the 2000s. For many years, the ETG Crips controlled the drug trade in particular territories in Baltimore City, including the area around the intersection between West Baltimore Street and South Hilton Street in West Baltimore (the “Baltimore Hilton neighborhood”), the area around the intersection between West Lexington Street and North Fremont Avenue (the “Lexington Terrace neighborhood”), and the area around the intersection between Frankford Avenue and Sinclair Lane in North Baltimore (the “Frankford Sinclair neighborhood”). The ETG Crips members from the Baltimore Hilton and Lexington Terrace neighborhoods referred to themselves as the Baccwest ETG Crips—modeling themselves after the Baccwest ETG Crips in Los Angeles—and ETG Crips members from the Frankford Sinclair neighborhood called themselves the Nutty North Side ETG Crips. The two groups worked together for common criminal purposes.
According to his guilty plea, Davon Powell was a member of the Baccwest ETG Crips in Baltimore. The Baccwest ETG Crips operated street-level drug distribution “shops” primarily in the Baltimore Hilton neighborhood, the Lexington Terrace neighborhood and the Franklin Sinclair neighborhood, distributing heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana. Non-members of the gang who attempted to sell drugs in the ETG Crips’ territories were targeted for violence by ETG Crips members. Powell admitted that he and his co-defendants conspired to distribute and distributed drugs, including heroin and crack cocaine.
The ETG Crips used social media websites to assert their claim to drug territories, intimidate rival gangs and witnesses against gang members, and to enhance the status of the ETG Crips and of individual members within the gang. Members of the ETG Crips posted photos and rap videos to social media websites flaunting weapons and threatening to kill those who stood in the way of the gang. By participating in criminal activities in furtherance of the gang, particularly violent acts directed by the ETG Crips leadership, ETG Crips members earned respect from fellow members and maintained or advanced their position within the gang.
Also, as detailed in his plea agreement, on May 19, 2019, in the 4900 block of Greencrest Road, Powell attempted to murder Victim 22, shooting the victim multiple times using a 9mm caliber pistol. Co-defendant Trayvon Hall, who was the leader of the ETG Crips, provided the weapon and served as the getaway driver. A week later, Hall offered to give Powell the 9mm caliber pistol used in the shooting, in exchange for a .40 caliber firearm that Powell had in his possession. Powell advised that the .40 caliber firearm was his “favorite,” but he had a friend with a .40 caliber firearm who might be willing to trade. Powell warned Hall that his friend’s gun was “dirty,” meaning it had been used to shoot or kill someone. Ultimately, Powell did swap guns with Hall, taking the 9mm pistol used to shoot Victim 22, and giving Hall his .40 caliber firearm.
Co-defendant Trayvon Hall, a/k/a “Tru,” and “G Tru,” age 31, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to his role in the gang and was sentenced on December 7, 2022, to 454 months in federal prison.
This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
This case is also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration, the ATF, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department for their assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Kim Y. Oldham, who are prosecuting the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psn and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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Originally published at https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/baltimore/news/baltimore-eight-tray-gangster-crips-member-sentenced-to-almost-20-years-in-federal-prison-for-racketeering-and-drug-conspiracy-charges