Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

36 S. Charles Street
Fourth Floor
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2692

(410) 209-4800

TTY/TDD: (410) 962-4462

For Immediate Release

June 23, 2010

Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney

Contacts: AUSA Vickie E. LeDuc

Marcia Murphy

(410) 209-4885

(410) 962-3091 (fax)

TTP Bloods Leader Sentenced to 30 Years for Gang Racketeering Activities

Female Gang Leader Wrote a Poem Claiming the Victim Wore the Wrong Colors

Baltimore, Maryland — U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Michelle Hebron, a/k/a “Michelle Hell” and “BG,” age 25, of Hagerstown and Annapolis, Maryland, today to 30 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for participating in a racketeering conspiracy through the Tree Top Piru Bloods (TTP Bloods), which engaged in narcotics trafficking and robbery. Hebron pleaded guilty to that offense on the second day of her trial.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy; Special Agent in Charge Joseph Riehl of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Wicomico County State’s Attorney Davis Ruark; Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis; the Washington County Narcotics Task Force led by Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore; Anne Arundel County Police Chief James Teare, Sr.; Acting Salisbury Police Chief Ivan E. Barkley; and Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith.

Michelle Hebron committed a murder and then wrote a poem claiming that she shot the victim for wearing the wrong gang colors, said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. She held a leadership role in the TTP Bloods gang and helped the gang spread throughout Maryland, until local, state and federal law enforcement agencies worked with corrections officials to prosecute 28 members and put the gang out of business.

TTP Bloods, a violent gang, originated from a street gang known as the Bloods that was formed in Los Angeles, California in the early 1970s. The Bloods broke into individual sets including a subset known as Tree Top Pirus (TTP). TTP spread throughout the country, including Maryland. TTP in Maryland has its roots in a local gang which began in the Washington County Detention Center in Hagerstown, Maryland in about 1999. The gang was formed for mutual protection in response to the aggression of other inmates from Baltimore and spread throughout Maryland mostly by recruiting from inside Maryland prisons. Over time, a group of female gang members formed a subset of TTP known as the Tree Top Pirettes.

According to trial testimony and her plea agreement, from 2007 to February 2008, Hebron was a member of TTP and regularly met with other TTP gang members to discuss, among other things, past acts of violence and other crimes committed by gang members against rival gang members and others; to notify one another about gang members who were arrested or incarcerated; to discuss the disciplining of TTP gang members; to discuss police interactions with gang members; to share with one another the identities of individuals who may be cooperating with law enforcement and propose actions to be taken against those individuals; to plan and agree upon the commission of future crimes, including robberies, drug trafficking, and assaults, and the means to cover up these crimes; and to reinforce gang rules.

According to Hebron’s plea agreement, she was one of the leaders of the Tree Top Pirettes and corresponded on a regular basis with Steve Willock, the TTP leader in Maryland, regarding TTP business. Hebron also admitted committing the murder of a person she believed to be a rival gang member. Law enforcement recovered the gun used in the murder and a poem that Hebron had written about the murder during a search of her apartment on October 10, 2007.

This case is the result of a long-term joint investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Baltimore City Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office. Twenty-two defendants have been convicted of the RICO conspiracy and 16 of those have been sentenced to between 21 months and 30 years in prison. Four other defendants have pleaded guilty to related charges. Charges filed against two remaining defendants are pending.

Two of the defendants convicted at trial, Sherman Pride, a/k/a Dark Black and DB, age 35, of Salisbury, Maryland; and Ronnie Thomas, a/k/a Rodney Thomas, Skinny Suge and Tall Vialz, age 36, of Baltimore, are scheduled to be sentenced this Friday, June 25, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., respectively. Pride faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, and Thomas faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Mr. Rosenstein and Ms. Jessamy gave special thanks to Secretary Gary Maynard of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; Commissioner J. Michael Stouffer of the Maryland Division of Correction; Director Patrick McGee of the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation; and the officers at the Western and North Branch Correctional Institutions and the Wicomico County Detention Center for their work in the investigation and prosecution of this case.

Mr. Rosenstein and Mrs. Jessamy also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Hanlon, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Mason, a cross-designated Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorney, who are prosecuting the case and Assistant State’s Attorney LaRai Everett who assisted in the prosecution.