Cutthroats: Cleveland gang arrests and indictments announced

Cutthroats: Cleveland gang arrests and indictments announced
Cutthroat Gang member arrests. (Source: WOIO)
Cutthroat Gang member arrests. (Source: WOIO)
Weapons from Cutthroat Gang member arrests. (Source: WOIO)
Weapons from Cutthroat Gang member arrests. (Source: WOIO)
CPD talks about indictments related to gang activity. (Source: WOIO)
CPD talks about indictments related to gang activity. (Source: WOIO)

Acting on evidence gathered by the Cleveland Division of Police Gang Impact Unit, a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury has indicted 12 adult members of the Cutthroats, a violent street gang that operated in Cleveland's Glenville neighborhood, on RICO charges and for participating in criminal gang activity. 

A 13th gang member faces charges in a complaint filed in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court.

Twelve of these 13 defendants are now in custody. Search warrants executed during Thursday's takedown by a task force of Cleveland Police officers, FBI agents and U.S. Marshals produced guns, ammunition and heroin that will soon lead to additional indictments including charges stemming from a vicious December 27th attack on an individual at a McDonald's drive through near East 105th Street and St. Clair Avenue.

Police and prosecutors have strong evidence that the Cutthroats gang is affiliated with, and is a subset of, the Heartless Felons. The epicenter of the gang's activities is East 105th Street and Superior Avenue. They claim this territory as their own.

Members frequently gathered at the Cory Recreation Center on Drexel Avenue to plan crimes including robberies, gun trafficking and drug sales. The proceeds from these crimes was shared among members and also used to pay bail or to fill the commissary accounts of members who were incarcerated.

Police and prosecutors have tied the Cutthroats to at least one murder and to a series of bank robberies in 2013 for which five gang members have already been convicted on federal or state charges.

"The arrests of these gang members are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the Detectives in the Gang Impact Squad who work every day with our law enforcement partners at the local, state and federal levels to put these cases together. The indictments are the result of tireless efforts on behalf of the members of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office," said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. "Through these partnerships we take these violent offenders off of our streets and make our city safer."

"This is our third – but not our last -- major offensive against gangs in Cuyahoga County since June," Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said. "We have now charged 94 individuals with racketeering and participating in a criminal gang and they collectively face thousands of years in prison. The defendants in this latest case alone are due 851 years. There's a message here to those who are in a gang or thinking of joining one: Consider if it's worth staying in prison so long that you will walk out with gray hair and a cane because we are going to continue to target, arrest and prosecute reckless and violent gang-bangers.

"The County Prosecutor's Office is sincerely appreciative of the collaborative efforts of the CPD Gang Impact Unit under Commander Gary Gingell, and the intelligence and information they have produced with the help of the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, the Cuyahoga County Sheriif's Departrment, CMHA Police and other law enforcement agencies."

"These 12 individuals are responsible for significant criminal activity in our city." said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI's Cleveland office. "Through the good work of investigators and prosecutors, this group's reign of violence has been brought to an end. The FBI is proud to have provided investigative support and resources to the Cleveland Division of Police to help bring these criminals to justice."

Named in the indictment on racketeering, criminal gang activity and two counts each of conspiracy were: Ledon Allen, 21; Ibrahim Abdul-Haqq, 20; Randall Brooks, 24; Robert George, 20; Idale Goins, 19; Ron Hunter, 18; Mickey James, 18; Malik Pruitt, 18; Mitchell Taylor, 21; and Theodore Travis, 27. Eric Myrieckes Jr. and Quasean Townsend, both 20, were charged with criminal gang activity and conspiracy.

In addition, Abdul-Haqq, Goins, Hunter and James were each charged with six counts of attempted murder, seven counts of felonious assault, two counts of Improper Handling of a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle, one count of Discharge of a Firearm on or near Protected Premises, one count of Improperly Discharging into Habitation and one count of Criminal Damaging or Endangering.

Those charges stem from an incident on February 16, 2014 when they fired an AK-47 into a house where members of a rival gang were attending a party.

Brooks was also charged with four counts of Aggravated Robbery, four counts of Kidnapping and one count of Having Weapons Under Disability for the hold-up of a Popeye's restaurant on Euclid Avenue in January of 2014.

Pruitt was charged with one count each of Aggravated Robbery, Robbery, Kidnapping, Bribery, Conspiracy and Having Weapons Under Disability for the armed robbery of a woman at an RTA bus stop on January 4, 2015.

Allen was charged with two additional counts of Obstructing Justice.

Townsend was charged with one additional count of Drug Trafficking. He is the one defendant who remains at large.

George and Taylor also are awaiting trial in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Aggravated Murder charges in the death of Brian Montgomery near East 88th Street and Superior Avenue in September of last year . Authorities believe this shooting was in retaliation for the 2013 slaying of Cutthroats gang member Mario (Rio) Braxton, and that George and Taylor actually meant to kill Montgomery's son Brandon, who was wounded in the attack.

Travis, who investigators believe to have been the leader of the Cutthroats, is awaiting sentencing on federal gun charges.

The complaint filed in Juvenile Court against a 13th gang member charges him with Participating in a Criminal Gang, Conspiracy and Drug Trafficking.

The indictment returned by the Grand Jury also charged a non-gang member, 30-year-old Timothy Willis, with one count of Obstructing Justice. Along with defendant Allen, he helped George and Taylor hide from law enforcement after the murder of Brian Montgomery.

The indictment details crimes committed between January 1, 2014 and January 23 of this year. It also notes dozens of other acts of violence that these and other members of the Cutthroats have committed in recent years including aggravated murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault, narcotics trafficking and firearms trafficking.

According to the indictment, all of these acts were designed to enhance the reputation of the Cutthroats, maintain control over territory or generate income for the gang.

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