Las Vegas Street Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering and Drug Charges
“We will use federal resources to prosecute street gang members who commit cowardly and horrible crimes in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “I commend the many law enforcement officers who worked on this investigation and assisted us in ensuring a conviction in this case.”
Markette Tillman, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of RICO conspiracy and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, and is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson on Oct. 28, 2014. Tillman faces up to 20 years in prison on each count, as well as fines of up to $1 million. The jury trial began yesterday, July 28, 2014, and the government had called seven witnesses to testify. Tillman is the remaining gang member to be convicted out of 10 charged in a RICO indictment filed in 2008.
According to the guilty plea agreement and evidence produced at trial, the Bloods are a nationally-known criminal street gang whose members engage in drug trafficking and acts of violence. The Playboy Bloods is a local “set” or affiliate of the Bloods, with local control and operation within the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The Playboy Bloods operate primarily in the Sherman Gardens Annex, a public housing complex, located at the corner of Doolittle and H Streets in Las Vegas, and commonly called the “Jets.” On or about Jan. 20, 2004, Tillman aided and abetted the murder of a security guard at the Jets. The guard approached Tillman and several other Playboy Bloods and told them to leave the property. An argument ensued, and the guard rode away on his bicycle to get help. One of the Playboy Bloods fired a gun at the guard, hitting him two times and killing him. Tillman admitted that he aided and abetted the murder of the guard and acted deliberately and intentionally with extreme disregard for human life. Tillman further admitted that he agreed with other members of the Playboy Bloods to manufacture and distribute narcotics, primarily crack cocaine, and to operate drug houses within the Playboy Bloods’ turf. Tillman specifically admitted to distributing in excess of 280 grams of crack cocaine. Tillman also admitted that he distributed crack cocaine to another person on about Jan. 3, 2007, at one of the drug houses.
The cases were investigated by the FBI’s Las Vegas Safe Streets Gang Task Force, which includes officers from the North Las Vegas Police Department and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas D. Dickinson and Phillip N. Smith, Jr., and Kevin L. Rosenberg, Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime and Gang Section.