Wichita Crips Gang Members Charged with Murder, Robbery, Drug Trafficking
by Jim Kouri, CPP
The Crips street gang in Wichita is the target of the first federal racketeering case ever filed in Kansas, US Attorney Eric Melgren and Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams announced Friday.
Twenty-eight members of the Crips are charged in two indictments that are the result of a yearlong federal investigation led by the Wichita Police Department.
“The defendants are accused of attempting to use violence and threats of violence to preserve and expand the power of the Crips street gang and to protect their criminal enterprise from interference by law enforcement,” Melgren said. “The indictments describe a criminal enterprise in which murder, drive-by shootings, robbery, and drug trafficking crimes were treated as tools for doing business.”
“The Wichita Police Department is aggressively investigating the gang organizations that are committing criminal activities in our community,” Chief Williams said. “We will pursue criminal charges either in district court or in federal court as we strive to make Wichita a safe and secure community.”
Police, federal prosecutors and a dozen other local, state and federal agencies worked together to develop a case using the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute the Crips. In two indictments, 28 defendants are identified as members of the Crips and subsets of the Crips including the Neighborhood Crips, the Insane Crips, the Tre Five Sevens, the 19th Streeters and the 17th Streeters.
Four alleged murders are cited in the indictments including the Feb. 3, 1998, killing of Tisha Jones by Jason Tisdale; the Feb. 3, 1998, killing of Keith James by Jason Tisdale; the Aug. 5, 2004, killing of Umanah Smith by Jason Tisdale; and the July 2, 2006, killing of David Barney by Jermal Campbell
In addition, 11 alleged attempted murders are cited in the indictment including the Feb. 16, 2005, attempted murder of Samuel Tolliver by Dontae Davis; the Aug. 5, 2004, attempted murder of Joshua Walker by Steven Novotny; the Nov. 1, 2003, attempted murder of an unknown person by Jason Tisdale; the Feb. 8, 1997, attempted murder of Adrian Blanchard by Junian Johnson; the May 15, 1995, attempted murder of Nathan King by Junian Johnson; the January 11, 1995 attempted murder of Carlos Beasley by Troy Langston; the April 3, 1994, attempted murder of Tyree Straughter by Junian Johnson; the March 20, 1993 attempted murder of Quincy Blue by Darryn Frierson; the Feb. 19, 1992 attempted murder of Damon Vontress in which Edward Walker participated; the Feb. 7, 1992 attempted murder of Grail Dates by Darryn Frierson; the Feb. 7, 1992, attempted murder of Dennis McGaugh by Darryn Frierson.
Other crimes alleged in the indictments include arson, robbery, possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine, and transportation of minors to engage in prostitution. Three minors are identified in the indictment, though not by name, with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana and maintaining properties for the purpose of drug trafficking.
Identified in the indictments as leaders of the Crips gangs are Tommy Anderson, Sr.; Clinton A.D. Knight; Armand Little; Trena Marteaus Carter; Darryn; Junian; Troy Langston; Lonnie Wade; and Calvin Williams.
According to the indictment, the Crips formed a criminal enterprise engaging in illegal activities including narcotics trafficking, drive-by shootings and burglaries; sought to preserve and expand their power through intimidation, threats and assaults; attempted to preserve and protect themselves from interference by law enforcement; and tried to keep their victims in fear through violence and threats.
The Crips distinguished themselves from other gangs by wearing baby blue clothing like the color used by the University of North Carolina’s athletic teams, as well as wearing gang tattoos and using gang hand signals, according to the indictment.
New members were “jumped into” the gang, which required them to voluntarily submit to a beating by other gang members. The same kind of beating was required for members to be “jumped out” when they left the gang.
Several properties are identified in the indictments, including a residence in Valley Center, Kan., and a residence in Wichita, both of which are owned by defendant Tracy Harris. Harris is charged with two counts of wire fraud in connection with those properties.
In one count, Harris is charged with making false statements on an application to Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., for a $247,427 loan to purchase the residence in Valley Center. In the other count, he is charged with making false statements on an application to BNC Mortgage, Inc., for a $68,654 loan to purchase the residence in Wichita. In addition to the two counts of wire fraud, other charges against Harris include two counts of racketeering, one count of unlawfully possessing a firearm after a felony conviction, and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Eight additional properties were identified in the indictment as hubs for drug trafficking.
Melgren commended the Wichita Police Department for leading the federal investigation. The police department’s Cold Case Task Force also included members from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Housing and Urban Development; the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office; and the US Marshal Service.
Also assisting with the investigation were the Kansas Department of Health and Human Services; the state Bureau of Alcohol Beverage Control; the Kansas Attorney General’s Office; the US Postal Inspection Service; the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office and other agencies.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.