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Monday, June 25, 2012

Three Men Using Stolen Police Uniform Found Guilty Following Jury Trial of Kidnapping Family at Gunpoint and Demanding Ransom


DENVER—Three men, Tracy Morgan (aka Tre Dog), age 41, of Denver; Killiu Ford (aka Caveman), age 38, of Aurora; and Augustus Sanford (aka Turk), age 34, of Denver, were found guilty late yesterday afternoon of kidnapping and related charges following a six-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn. The jury deliberated for an entire day before returning their unanimous guilty verdicts on all counts. No sentencing date has yet been set.

The three defendants, Morgan, Ford, and Sanford, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on August 3, 2011. Their jury trial started on June 11, 2012. The jury returned their guilty verdicts on June 21, 2012.

The jury found that the defendants committed crimes including kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap.

According to the indictment, as well as information presented during the trial, on September 22, 2009, within the state and District of Colorado, the defendants did willfully and unlawfully seize, confine, kidnap, abduct, and carry away an adult male victim, an adult female victim, and two juvenile victims, holding them for ransom and reward, and using a cell phone, the Internet, and a Global Positioning System (GPS) in the process.

From August 2009 through September 23, 2009, the three defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other and others known and unknown to the grand jury to kidnap and rob the male victim. It was the primary object of the conspiracy to kidnap and rob the male victim with the assistance of a GPS tracking system installed on the victim’s car. In furtherance of the conspiracy, the defendants discussed their plans with others, purchased a GPS tracker on the Internet, and called the adult victim requesting a delivery of cocaine so that Morgan and Ford could attach the tracker to the victim’s car. At some point during September 2009, the male victim received a call requesting the delivery of the cocaine. During the delivery of the cocaine, the defendants attached the GPS tracker to the victim’s car. For the next few weeks, Morgan and Ford monitored the vehicle’s movement by using a computer to follow the tracker. Through use of the monitoring, the defendants were able to determine where the victim and his family lived, as well as his habits and patterns.

Prior to leaving to carry out the robbery, Morgan, Ford, and Sanford assembled at an unindicted co-conspirator’s house. Sanford was wearing a stolen Denver Police Department uniform that he had obtained from a juvenile whose father was a Denver police officer, in exchange for marijuana. All of the defendants brought guns to use during the robbery. Before leaving the house, the defendants used a computer to determine the location of the victim by use of the tracker. After the defendants left, Morgan called the unindicted co-conspirator several times to ask him to check the computer for the current location of the victim. On the last call, Morgan was given the location.

At approximately 11 p.m. on September 22, 2009, the defendants located the victim in Edgewater, Colorado. As the male victim and his wife placed their two young daughters into car seats in the rear of their car, the defendants jumped out of their various vehicles, with their guns drawn, and announced they were the police. One man ordered the male victim’s wife at gunpoint into the passenger seat of her car, and he then got into the driver’s seat. The gunman then drove the adult female victim and her two children to their home in Thornton, Colorado. When they arrived at the home, between three and five men entered the home, including all three defendants, and began ransacking the house. They demanded that the female victim show them where the drugs and money were inside the residence.

When the female victim denied knowing anything about drugs or money, Morgan ordered one of the men to grab one of the female victim’s young daughters. The man carried juvenile one up the stairs, and Morgan pointed a gun at juvenile one’s head. At that, point the adult female victim pointed out where money was hidden, and the men grabbed approximately $30,000 in cash. They then fled in different vehicles. The men in Sanford’s vehicle stopped along 104th Avenue in Thornton and pushed the male victim out of the car and onto the side of the road before pulling away.

The defendants were also found guilty of possessing firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence, which in this case was the kidnapping.

“Three kidnappers are going to serve lengthy prison sentences thanks to the hard work of the trial team as well as the investigative work of the men and women of the Metro Gang Task Force,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

“The convictions are a tribute to the outstanding work by the Metro Gang Task Force and the United States Attorney’s Office,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Yacone. “These gang members committed a series of premeditated violent crimes that terrorized their victims. Working with our partners, the FBI and the Metro Gang Task Force will continue to target gang members who jeopardize the safety of our communities.”

All three defendants face not less than 20 years, and not more than life imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine, for two counts of kidnapping using a cell phone, the Internet, and a GPS. They also face not less than 25 years, and not more than life imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine, for two counts of kidnapping using a cell phone, the Internet and a GPS. All three defendants face not more than life and up to a $250,000 fine for conspiring to kidnap and rob an individual. They all face not less than seven years, and not more than life, for using a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, which must run consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed.

This case was investigated by the Denver Metro Gang Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of FBI, IRS, ICE-HSI, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Aurora Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Commerce City Police Department, Denver District Attorney’s Office, Denver Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Thornton Police Department. Members of the Colorado Joint Counterdrug Task Force participated as well.

The defendants were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colleen Covell and Suneeta Hazra.

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