News Release
May 20, 2008

4th Street Blood Gang Members and Associates Indicted on Drug Charges

MAY 20 -- (HOUSTON, Texas) – The reputed leader and one of the original founding members of the 4th Street Blood Gang along with several of the gang’s members and associates have been indicted for trafficking in cocaine, crack and methamphetamine, United States Attorney Don DeGabrielle announced today.

After a two-year investigation, teams comprised of agents of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and officers of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, Dickinson Police Department, Galveston Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety-Narcotics Service, League City Police Department and Texas City Police Department executed arrest warrants late last evening and early this morning. Agents took a total of 10 persons into federal custody, including Jason James Ruppert, aka Little J, 28, the reputed leader and one of the original founding members of the 4th Street Blood gang. The arrest warrants issued as the result of two separate indictments returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Houston May 7, 2008, and unsealed today by order of the court. Ruppert and others arrested are alleged members or associates of the 4th Street Blood gang who allegedly made money by selling illicit drugs. All those taken into custody are expected to appear in federal court in Houston before U.S. Magistrate Judge Calvin Botley tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. to answer charges on the two separate indictments.

“A number of streets and neighborhoods in Galveston County are safer today thanks to the excellent combined efforts of state, local and federal law enforcement officials,” DeGabrielle said. “The men and women in law enforcement should be justifiably proud of the assistance they have provided to the many law-abiding citizens who have long suffered the effects of organized criminal activity. We welcome the opportunity to present evidence resulting from these investigations to the court.”

The 4th Street Blood gang was, according to the indictment, formed in the mid 1990s in the northeastern part of Galveston County and derived its name from the location of the gang’s activity centered around 4410 4th Street, Bacliff, Texas. Membership in the gang is displayed by wearing the color red and by tattoos including “Kliff Side,” “4SP,” “4th Street Playa,” “4th Street Blood,” “Playa 4 Life,” “MOB (Member of Bloods)” and “Paw Prints.” The gang allegedly makes its money through the sale and distribution of illegal drugs including cocaine, crack cocaine and methamphetamine in and around the area in which they operate.

In the first indictment, Ruppert is charged with conspiring with eight others to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine and methamphetamine. The grand jury alleged the defendants conspired with one another and others known and unknown from February 2006 through May 7, 2008, to procure illegal drugs and using a number of “stash” houses to store, wrap, package and distribute the drugs to numerous associates involved in drug trafficking to carry out the business of the gang, in addition to using houses, apartments, hotel rooms, vehicles and cellular telephones to further the illicit drug trade in which they were allegedly involved. Ruppert is charged in seven additional substantive drug trafficking counts. Each of the remaining eight defendants is also charged in at least one substantive count of possessing with intent to distribute various quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine or methamphetamine.

The other eight alleged members or associates of the 4th Street Blood street gang charged along with Ruppert include Brandon Ray Dominy, 37; Ricky Dale Gatlin, aka Ricky G, 24; Sean Alan Godinez, aka Sean G, 28; Scott Aric Howard, 44; Amy Nicole Knight, 24; Michael Joseph Reynolds, aka Uncle Mike, 49; Bryan Cole Spillers, aka Bryan Miller, 37; and Robert Wayne Tucker, aka Red, 28.

If convicted of the conspiracy charge, all nine defendants face a mandatory minimum of 10 years imprisonment, a $4 million fine and five years supervised release. All substantive counts carry an equal or lesser possible sentence depending upon the amount of drugs involved.

In a second indictment arising from the same joint investigative effort, also returned May 7, 2008, Shawn William Marquis, 19, and others are alleged members or associates of the 4th Street Blood gang who are accused of conspiring with one another to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine between May 2006 through the end of November 2007. This four-count indictment also accuses each defendant of one or more substantive counts of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. The indictment remains under seal as to others charged and warrants remain outstanding for their arrest.

Upon conviction, each of the defendants faces no less than five and a maximum of 40 years imprisonment for the conspiracy charge.

Both cases will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim S. Braley.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.