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SAN FRANCISCO – 27 May – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The Unite…

SAN FRANCISCO – 27 May – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The United States Attorney’s Office announced that a federal grand jury indicted the following individuals, all from San Francisco:

* Raymon D. Hill, a/k/a “Money Ray,” age 29,
* Dennis Cyrus, Jr., a/k/a “Daddy-O,” age 20,
* Aquil H. Peterson, a/k/a “Quil,” age 22,
* Lester W. Hogan, a/k/a “Styles,” age 27,
* Steve Wilson, a/k/a “Wolf,” a/k/a “Solo,” age 26,
* Donald J. Armour, a/k/a “DJ,” age 29,
* Mister Meilleur, a/k/a “Mister,” age 28

All of the defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute over 50 grams of cocaine base. Hill, Cyrus, Peterson, Hogan, and Wilson are charged with conspiracy to participate in a racketeering influenced and corrupt organization (RICO) and with committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR). Cyrus is charged with the murder of a federal witness, which carries a maximum sentence of the death penalty. Hill is charged with obstruction of justice for lying to U.S. Magistrate Judge James Larson in order to be temporarily released on bond. Cyrus, Peterson and Meilleur are charged with possessing cocaine base for distribution within one thousand feet of a public housing facility, a public elementary school, and a playground.

The indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on May 24, 2005, was unsealed this morning. These charges are the latest in a series of charges that utilize federal statutes to prosecute alleged racketeering organizations. Federal charges have also been brought against alleged members of “West Mob,” “Big Block,” and the “Down Below Gangsters.”

U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan stated, “All citizens deserve to live in a safe community, free from gang violence and drug dealing. The scourge of gangs holds residents hostage in their own communities by living in constant fear from retribution and random violence. This is intolerable. The alleged murder of a federal witness strikes at the core of our justice system, and shatters one’s sense of safety. We, as federal prosecutors, have powerful tools – the federal racketeering statutes – to dismantle these alleged organizations, and we will use them to their fullest extent when appropriate. I thank the FBI, the San Francisco Police Department, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office for their invaluable assistance and participation with this investigation.”

The indictment alleges the following violent acts.

* On February 6, 1998, Steve Wilson attempted to commit murder.
* In September 2001, Raymon Hill and Lester Hogan assaulted an individual and conspired and attempted to murder him by shooting him with a firearm.
* On July 28, 2002, Dennis Cyrus Jr. assaulted and attempted to murder an individual by shooting him with a handgun.
* On August 23, 2002, Dennis Cyrus Jr. and Aquil Peterson kidnapped and murdered Joseph Hearns with a handgun.
* On August 31, 2002, Dennis Cyrus Jr. murdered Randy Mitchell by shooting him with a handgun.
* On September 8, 2002, Dennis Cyrus Jr. murdered federal witness Ray Jimmerson with the intent to prevent his attendance and testimony in an official proceeding and to prevent communication by him to a law enforcement officer and federal judge.
* Between August 23 and August 26, 2004, Raymon Hill, Lester Hogan and Steve Wilson conspired to murder an individual.
* On August 26, 2004, Steve Wilson assaulted, maimed, and attempted to murder the same individual he conspired to murder in the previous three days.
* On August 26, 2004, Steve Wilson assaulted and attempted to murder another individual, causing serious bodily injury by shooting him with a handgun.
* Between August 23 and August 26, 2004, Hogan and Hill conspired to murder an individual.

Mark Mershon, FBI Special Agent in Charge, said, “Citizens who act as cooperating witnesses are one of law enforcement’s most important tools in fighting crime on the street. The FBI’s commitment to bringing to justice the individuals responsible for the brutal murder of a key government witness is demonstrated by the facts set forth in today’s indictment.”

San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong said, “Reducing gun violence remains the
Department’s highest priority. Our strategy of specifically targeting gang members responsible for violent crime continues to be effective. This is yet another example of our successful partnership with our federal counterparts. This case reflects our commitment to never giving up on a homicide investigation.”

Steve Wilson was arrested on May 24. Lester Hogan, Donald J. Armour, and Mister Meilleur were arrested on May 25, 2005. Raymon Hill is currently in federal custody serving a 36 month sentence on an unrelated charge of unlawfully receiving a firearm while under indictment on another case. Dennis Cyrus and Aquil Peterson are currently in state custody on other charges.

Defendant Steve Wilson made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte on May 25, 2005, and will appear for a detention hearing on May 31, 2005. Defendants Lester W. Hogan, Donald J. Armour, and Mister Meilleur made their initial appearances this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte. They will appear on June 1, 2005, at 9:30 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James for a detention hearing. All of these defendants are being held in custody. Court appearances for Cyrus, Peterson and Hill have not yet been set.

Defendants Armour, Meilleur, Hill, Wilson, and Hogan face a maximum sentence of life in prison. Cyrus and Peterson face a maximum sentence of life in prison or the death penalty. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. 3553. An indictment only contains allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Hill, Cyrus, Peterson, Hogan, Wilson, Armour and Meilleur must be presumed innocent unless and until convicted.

The prosecution is the result of a two and a half year investigation by the FBI, the San Francisco Police Department, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. Phillip Kearney and Andrew Scoble are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release and related court filings may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can. Related court documents and information may be found on the U.S. District Court website at www.cand.uscourts.gov or on <http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at Luke.Macaulay3@usdoj.gov.

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.