Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Eastern District of California

For Immediate Release

Monday, June 11, 2012

Benjamin B. Wagner, United States Attorney

Contact: Lauren Horwood

Fresno Villa Posse Criminal Street Gang Leader Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

FRESNO, Calif. – United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that United States District Court Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced Curtis Hendrix, 38, of Fresno, today to 30 years in prison, to be followed by eight years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and distribution of cocaine base.

According to court documents, Hendrix coordinated and directed a series of drug sales and purchases over a two-month period in 2008. In Hendrix's plea agreement on file with the court, he admitted that he was one of the leaders of the Villa Posse criminal street gang and in that position he operated the sale of cocaine base, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Hendrix admitted that he was assisted in his drug trafficking operation by a number of individuals who either sold narcotics to Hendrix and his co-conspirators, or picked up the narcotics, broke them down, packaged them for sale, and also sold the narcotics. The admissions in the plea agreement also detail that much of the drug trafficking activity occurred at the Best Budget Motel in Fresno, an area Villa Posse claimed as their territory. Hendrix admitted to being assisted by "lookouts" to watch for police and rival gangs.

In sentencing, Judge O’Neill noted the damage that selling heavy narcotics and gang affiliation does to the community.

U.S. Attorney Wagner said: By sending a dozen drug traffickers of the Villa Posse gang off to prison, this prosecution will make a real difference in terms of public safety in Fresno.

This investigation was part of the Project SAFE Neighborhoods initiative, aimed at addressing gang and firearms crimes through cooperative efforts among local, state and federal agencies. The case was the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Fresno Police Department, the California Department of Justice Special Services Unit, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Fresno County Probation. Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly Sanchez prosecuted the case.

Hendrix is the last of 13 defendants to be sentenced in this case. The other defendants and their sentences are as follows:

  • Keonie McGrue – sentenced on 4-23-10 to 4 years in prison;
  • Damien Witherspoon – sentenced on 4-23-10 to 4 years in prison;
  • Edward Hatcher – sentenced on 8-7-09 to 2 ½ years in prison;
  • Jonathan Greenwood – sentenced on 4-17-09 to 3 years in prison;
  • Lester Gant – sentenced on 4-10-09 to 4 years in prison;
  • Melvin Wilburn – sentenced on 5-15-09 to 4 years in prison;
  • Gene Rios – sentenced on 6-25-10 to 30 months in prison;
  • Aaron Muldrew – sentenced on 12-11-09 to 6 years and 5 months in prison;
  • Ernest Panoo – sentenced on 10-30-09 to 4 years and 7 months in prison;
  • Jernell Beasley – sentenced on 10-8-09 to 4 years in prison;
  • Jerome Williams – sentenced on 11-25-09 to 8 years in prison;
  • Allison Jones – sentenced on 9-18-09 to 3 years and 1 month in prison.

Parole has been abolished in the federal system, and each defendant will be require to serve at least 85 percent of the prison time imposed.