PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Decades of crime came to an end Wednesday as two longtime Hoover Criminal Gang members were found guilty of several crimes by a federal jury, prosecutors announced.
Lorenzo Laron Jones, 49, and Ronald Clayton Rhodes, 37, were both found guilty of racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, and using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence.
According to court documents, Jones and Rhodes have been participating in gang activities for a combined 30 years. The two senior members trained new recruits and used them to conduct gang business and violence.
Court documents state that The Hoovers is a criminal street gang in Oregon who have been known to commit violent crimes including murder, robbery and drug dealing. They have been in Portland since the early 1980s.
Steven T. Mygrant, Chief of the Narcotics and Criminal Enterprises Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon spoke about the importance of labeling gangs as racketeering enterprises.
“Prosecuting violent street gangs as racketeering enterprises is a powerful law enforcement tool we believe will reduce shootings in Portland and begin to restore the safe, vibrant community the public deserves,” Mygrant said.“Today’s convictions are an important milestone, but only the beginning of our effort to hold accountable all those responsible for gun violence in Portland.”
It was found during the trial that Jones murdered Wilbert Butler in 2017, as well as committed several other crimes including distributing controlled substances and attempted murder, according to prosecutors.
The jury found that Rhodes had participated in the murder of Kyle Polk in 2015, among other criminal acts, prosecutors said.
Jones and Rhodes both face life sentences in federal prison.
“When groups like this flood local streets with violence, the most effective response is for team law enforcement, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, alongside state and local law enforcement, to come together and leverage our most sophisticated investigative and prosecutorial methods. The most powerful response is a joint response,” says Special Agent Kieran L. Ramsey from the FBI Portland Field Office. “These convictions cannot undo the damage that has been done but we hope it sends a clear message that we will continue to pursue the most violent and persistent offenders and hold them accountable for their blatant disregard for human life and the safety of our communities.”
Several other alleged Hoover members also face pending charges or have already been sentenced in federal court for crimes committed on behalf of the gang.