For Immediate Release
Sixth and Final Defendant Sentenced to Prison for String of Violent Armed Carjackings and Firearms Violations
MINNEAPOLIS – A Saint Paul man has been sentenced to 70 months in prison for his role in a string of violent armed carjackings and various firearms violations, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
“Mr. Ballard and his five co-conspirators took part in a widespread and violent crime spree, including carjackings, shootings and robberies, while touting their criminal activity on social media. With this sentence, all six men are now serving significant federal prison sentences,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger.
Saint Paul Police Chief Axel Henry added, “We will not tolerate violence in our city and will leverage our partnerships with the ATF and U.S. Attorney’s Office, when possible, to hold violent offenders accountable when they prey on our community. This case is a good example of how these partnerships worked to make our city safer.”
According to court documents, between May and December 2020, Eric Troy Ballard Jr., 21, along with co-conspirators Isaiah Stacy Alstad, 24, James Brock Williams Jr., 22, Clifton Germaine Walker Jr., 25, Jordan Sydney Shamah Rhodes, 24, and Joshoamei Deangelo Richardson, 22, maintained active membership in the street gang known as the “Top 5.” The purpose of the gang was to make money for its members through criminal acts, including thefts, robberies and distribution and sale of controlled substances. Proceeds of the money obtained through the commission of criminal acts were distributed among the Top 5 members. Top 5 members would use, carry and possess firearms to commit these criminal acts as well as carry out acts of violence against others, including shootings and assaults. Top 5 members used social media to discuss criminal activity, recruit new members and display cash, firearms, controlled substances and some carjacked vehicles. As part of the investigation, police seized 10 firearms from the group, various narcotics and cash.
According to court documents, on August 25, 2020, at approximately 2:30 a.m., a victim was carjacked by members of the group at gunpoint and pistol-whipped near the 1200 block of Jackson Street in St. Paul. That same morning, at approximately 6:50 a.m., Top 5 members, including Ballard, carjacked a second victim at gunpoint in the parking lot of a restaurant near White Bear Avenue in St. Paul. At approximately 9 a.m. that same day, a third victim was carjacked by the group at gunpoint on Maria Avenue near Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. All six defendants were charged for their roles in these carjackings and related illegal possession and use of firearms during these violent crimes.
Ballard pleaded guilty on April 7 to one count of conspiracy to use, carry and brandish firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence, namely aiding and abetting carjacking. Ballard was sentenced August 7 before Judge John R. Tunheim.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Saint Paul Police Department, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Columbia Heights Police Department and the South Saint Paul Police Department.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Bejar and Thomas Calhoun-Lopez.