Playboy Bloods Gang member pleads guilty in racketeering case

LAS VEGAS -- On the second day of his federal jury trial, a Las Vegas Playboy Bloods street gang member pleaded guilty Tuesday to racketeering and drug charges, said Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden and Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

Markette Tillman, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson Oct. 28. 

Tillman faces up to 20 years in prison on each count, as well as fines of up to $1 million. He was the remaining gang member to be convicted out of 10 charged in a racketeering indictment filed in 2008.

"We will use federal resources to prosecute street gang members who commit cowardly and horrible crimes in our community," Bogden said. "I commend the many law enforcement officers who worked on this investigation and assisted us in ensuring a conviction in this case."

According to the 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 affiliate with control and operation within the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The Playboy Bloods operate primarily in the Sherman Gardens Annex, a public housing complex also known as the "Jets" on Doolittle and H Streets in Las Vegas. 

On Jan. 20, 2004, Tillman aided and abetted the murder of a security guard at the complex. The guard approached Tillman and 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 Playboy Blood fired a gun at the guard, hitting him two times and killing him. 

Tillman admitted he aided in the murder and acted with extreme disregard for human life. He further admitted agreeing with other members of the Playboy Bloods to manufacture and distribute narcotics, primarily crack cocaine, and to operate drug houses within the gang's turf. Tillman admitted to distributing in excess of 280 grams of crack cocaine.

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 Metro Police. The case is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Nicholas Dickinson and Phillip Smith, Jr., as well as by trial attorney Kevin Rosenberg of the Justice Department's Organized Crime and Gang Section.

 


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