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Saturday, November 17, 2018

St. Joseph Man Pleads Guilty to Racketeering, Violent Gang Engaged in Assault, Murder, Drug Trafficking, Armed Robberies


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The member of a violent St. Joseph, Mo., gang pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a RICO conspiracy that involved acts of murder, attempted murder, drug trafficking and armed robberies, among other crimes, as part of a criminal enterprise.

Luis Calderon-Oliveras, 27, of St. Joseph, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark to the charge contained in a Jan. 12, 2017, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty today, Calderon-Oliveras admitted he was involved in a conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in 2012 and 2013. The criminal enterprise engaged in acts of violence, including murder and attempted murder, armed assault, armed robbery, extortion and witness intimidation. The gang trafficked in heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Although members of the St. Joseph gang were often referred to as Latin Kings, the enterprise was not formally affiliated with the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation.

Members of the enterprise enriched themselves and funded their operations with the proceeds of drug trafficking, robbery, burglary and extortion. They targeted rival drug dealers for robbery, not only to obtain the robbery proceeds, but to eliminate and deter competition in the drug trade and, at times, to extort a financial stake in future drug sales from the rival by offering “protection.” Members of the enterprise also extorted money from innocent victims by offering “protection” from future robberies and acts of violence.

Leaders and members of the enterprise promoted a climate of fear in the community through repeated waves of gunfire, beatings and destruction of property, among other crimes of violence and intimidation. The gang was based in St. Joseph but also operated in Kansas, Iowa and Massachusetts, among other places, and recruited many of its members and associates from Puerto Rico.

Calderon-Oliveras admitted that he and several of his co-conspirators agreed to physically assault and attempt to murder by gunfire the person identified in the indictment as “Co-Conspirator #3.” Calderon-Oliveras participated in the physical assault on Sept. 10, 2012, in Estherville, Iowa, and helped his co-conspirators involved in the shooting avoid arrest after the fact.

Calderon-Oliveras also admitted that he and a co-conspirator robbed Sack-N-Save grocery store in St. Joseph at gunpoint on Sept. 28, 2012, a crime for which he pleaded guilty in in 2013 in state court.

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Calderon-Oliveras will be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick C. Edwards, David Raskin and Emily A. Morgan. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the St. Joseph, Mo., Police Department and the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.

ATF, NSSF Offer Reward for Pine Bluff FFL Homicide


Pine Bluff, Ark. —The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) New Orleans Field Division is offering a $10,000 reward, along with a $5,000 reward from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, for a total of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the attempted pawn shop robbery and subsequent homicide of a federal firearms licensee (FFL).

On Nov. 12, 2018, an attempted robbery occurred at Wise Buck Gun & Pawnshop located at 2408 S Camden Rd, Pine Bluff, AR 71603, resulting in the shooting of two victims. Brandon McHan, the business owner and federal firearms licensee, subsequently died from his injuries.

Through the investigation, it was learned that two suspects entered the business through the front door and exchanged gunfire with the business owner and another individual. The suspects fled the scene in an unknown direction and remain unidentified.

The ATF Little Rock Field Office and the Pine Bluff Police Department are jointly investigating this violent crime. ATF, along with our law enforcement partners, is committed to ensuring the safety of our communities, and that those who commit these types of violent crimes are brought to justice.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the ATF Little Rock Field Office at 501-324-6181 or 1-888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477), by email ATFTips@atf.gov (link sends e-mail) , or through the ATF website at www.atf.gov/contact/atf-tips, or the Pine Bluff Police Department at 1-870-730-2090 or 870-541-5300.

Anonymous tips may also be submitted to ATF through the ReportIt® mobile app, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store , or by visiting www.reportit.com (link is external). With this app, users can confidentially submit tips involving firearms and violent crimes.

ATF is the lead federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction involving firearms and violent crimes, and regulates the firearms industry. More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.

Violent Felon Sentenced for Possession of Firearm with Large Capacity Magazine


RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond man was sentenced today to 51 months in prison for possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony.

“Toatley is exactly the type of individual who poses a serious danger to the safety of our communities and the law enforcement officers who protect us,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Toatley has a long criminal history which includes aggravated assault for shooting a person, another aggravated assault for forcing a person out of his home at gun-point, drug offenses, and false imprisonment. Along with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we are committed to removing violent individuals like Toatley from our communities.”

According to court documents, police were called to a residence in Richmond by the occupant who said a male was threatening her and her children, the male was on his way to the caller’s home, and the male was known to carry a firearm.  When the responding officer arrived, he saw Gerald Toatley, 38, at the door of the residence.  Toatley acknowledged a conflict with the resident, but dismissed it as a “misunderstanding.”  When the officer asked for identify information, Toatley attempted to flee, but fell to the ground.  As the officer tried to assist him, Toatley threw the officer to the ground and ran.  During his flight, Toatley hid a 9mm semi-automatic pistol in a barbeque grill in a neighboring yard.  Shortly thereafter, the officer arrested Toatley, who resisted being placed in handcuffs.  The officer then recovered the firearm, which had Toatley’s DNA on it.  The Court enhanced defendant’s sentence because the gun had a large capacity magazine, capable of holding sixteen rounds of ammunition.

“Gun crime is a scourge on our communities and holds good people hostage in their own homes,” said Thomas L. Chittum, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division. “ATF is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to take violent criminals like Gerald Toatley off our streets and put them behind bars where they belong. I hope this serves as a warning to other armed criminals that when they are caught, they will be met with swift, predictable consequences.”

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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Thomas L. Chittum, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Holli R. Wood and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Miller prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:18-cr-53.