SAN FRANCISCO – Earlier today, a federal grand jury convicted Barry Gilton, a/k/a “Prell,” of participating in a racketeering conspiracy, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. The jury further found Gilton’s codefendant, Lupe Mercado, guilty of being an accessory to a murder committed by members of the San Francisco gang referred to as the Central Divisadero Players, a/k/a “Central Divis Playas” or “CDP.” The guilty verdicts follow a four-week jury trial before the Honorable William H. Orrick, U.S. District Judge, and represent the tenth and eleventh convictions in this racketeering case.
“The jury found that Gilton and Mercado participated in or assisted gang activity on San Francisco streets,” stated U.S. Attorney Anderson. “The jury’s verdict adds to nine prior convictions in the same case. Although much more work remains to be done, the verdicts are another significant step forward in dismantling a street gang that has imposed itself on San Francisco for far too long.”
“Gang members operate outside of the rule of law that allows our community to function as it should,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Bennett. “Members of CDP showed no hesitation to use violence to further their activities, and as public servants sworn to protect our community we cannot and will not let that happen unchallenged.”
Evidence at trial showed that Gilton, 46, and Mercado, 45, both of San Francisco, Calif., associated with members of CDP. The evidence showed that CDP was a racketeering organization that worked collectively with other gangs in the Western Addition of San Francisco to preserve and protect the power, territory, reputation, and profits of the enterprise using intimidation, violence, assaults, and murder. CDP members and associates committed numerous crimes, including murder, attempted murder, pimping, robbery, firearms offenses, witness intimidation, drug trafficking, and the enticement of individuals to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution.
The eleven-defendant, 22-count second superseding indictment filed on August 14, 2014, in this case charged Gilton and Mercado with murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1); use, possession, brandishing, or discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A); and use or possession of a firearm in a murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j). Gilton was also charged with racketeering conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d); and Mercado was also charged as an accessory after the fact, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3. The jury convicted Gilton of the racketeering conspiracy and Mercado of being an accessory after the fact of a murder.
Judge Orrick has not yet scheduled Gilton’s and Mercado’s sentencing.
Gilton and Mercado face maximum statutory penalties of life in prison and 15 years, respectively. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
The other nine defendants in this case have already been convicted and sentenced. Charles Heard (a/k/a “Cheese”) was sentenced to four life sentences; Jaquain Young (a/k/a “Loc”) was sentenced to four life sentences, plus additional terms of years; Adrian Gordon (a/k/a “Tit”) was sentenced to 27 years in prison; Alfonzo Williams (a/k/a “Fonz” or “Relly”) was sentenced to 25 years in prison; Antonio Gilton (a/k/a “TG” or “Tone”) was sentenced to 22 years in prison; Reginald Elmore (a/k/a “Fat Reg”) was sentenced to 22 years in prison; Esau Ferdinand (a/k/a “Sauce”) was sentenced to 20 years in prison; Monzell Harding, Jr. was sentenced to 12 years in prison; and Paul Robeson (a/k/a “P World”) was sentenced to six years in prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime Strike Force is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of joint investigation by the FBI; the San Francisco Police Department’s Gang Task Force, Homicide Detail, Robbery Detail, Special Victims Unit, and the Northern, Park, and Bayview Stations; the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; and the San Pablo Police Department.