PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon announced federal racketeering and murder charges against 3 members of the Hoover Criminal Gang.
U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said in a Thursday afternoon press conference Lorenzo Laron Jones, a senior member of the Hoover gang, was indicted on charges of racketeering that caused the shooting deaths of 2 Portland men.
Jones is accused of engaging in violent racketeering for at least 30 years — nearly as long as the Hoover Criminal Gang has existed in Portland.
The charges allege that from June of 1989 to December 2017, Jones was responsible for at least 8 shootings and 2 murders. He’s accused of killing Ascensio Genchi Garcia in July of 1998 and Wilbert Butler in September of 2017.
Jones is also charged with attempting to murder 6 people, possessing stolen guns and distributing cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
The superseding indictment also names 2 other men with ties to the gang for the December 16, 2015 murder of Portland resident Kyle Polk. Ronald Clayton Rhodes and Javier Fernando Hernandez were previously charged with murder in aid of racketeering.
All 3 men will face a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison if they’re convicted and are eligible for the death penalty, according to Williams.
“Jones and his fellow Hoovers stand out among street gangs and their propensity for brutal acts of violence,” Williams said. “They engage in violence for the sake of violence to maintain and bolster their positions in the gang and among rivals. Most street gangs including the Hoovers use violence to protect illegal profit-driven enterprises like drug dealing and prostitution.”
Law enforcement officials said they’re prosecuting Jones, Rhodes and Hernandez in the hope of bringing accountability to other members of the Hoover gang and ending its history of violence in the Portland area.
Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill said at the press conference the Hoover Criminal Gang started in the Los Angeles area and has a presence up and down the West Coast. Underhill said members refer to themselves as being part of the “EBK” which stands for “everybody killers.”
Williams also delivered a strong message to all members of violent gangs in Oregon.
“Wake up, stop the violence, you will be held accountable,” he said. “By the time your case reaches our desk, it’s too late. You’ll be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and we are out to change the gang violence going on in the district of Oregon.”
Williams said this is the second federal racketeering indictment recently brought against a Portland gang. Six people connected to the Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club were charged in January.