PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Three alleged members of a violent street gang in the Hill District — 22-year-old Dionte Griffin, 20-year-old Sydney Pack and 23-year-old Richard Kelly — are now facing federal charges, and investigators are now saying recently murdered local rapper Jimmy Wopo was one of the gang’s leaders.
Authorities say their crimes ran the gamut, from murders to robberies to drug trafficking. They allegedly bragged about their exploits in rap videos posted on YouTube.
U.S. Attorney Scott Brady announced the indictment late Tuesday afternoon. A federal grand jury indicted the gang members on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, charges.
Brady told KDKA that “the gang has effectively been dismantled…we have taken out its leadership.”
Officials say they ran with a gang that called itself “11 Hunnit,” with most members living on Memory Lane or Burrows Street.
Up and coming Pittsburgh rapper, Wopo, who was shot and killed in June, was named extensively in the indictment. His real name was Travon Smart. He was identified in the court papers by the initials T.S.
No one has been arrested in connection with Wopo’s murder.
The 11 Hunnit gang – according to prosecutors – was responsible for the murders of at least three rival gang members, including 20-year old Christopher Richardson, who was shot and killed in 2015.
Richardson’s mother – who did not want to be identified for her own safety – was relieved by the new arrests, but worried about the mixed message the alleged criminal activity of Wopo and the others sends out. She said “he did a lot for kids in the community, but the opposite of him doing that…he was ordering people’s family members to be killed, my son is one.”
Richardson’s mother said she would now try to get Wopo’s music banned at Hill District Midget Football League games.
Officials say Wopo was one of the gang’s leaders because of his notoriety. He reportedly gave orders to commit robberies or shoot rival gang members. If Wopo was please, he would include gang members in his videos or give them something of value. If one of the gang members fell short of expectatons, officials say he would have them harmed.
Officials say 11 Hunnit was behind a long list of shootings, killings and home invasions in their battle with a rival gang called the “Wavy Boyz.
“As alleged, these defendants are members of a violent gang whose drug trafficking and other acts of violence have terrorized law abiding residents of the City of Pittsburgh for too long: today it ends,” Brady said. “We will use every tool, including federal RICO conspiracy, to put an end to these violent street gangs and offer justice to those harmed by 11 Hunnit and their associates.”
Police said homicide investigations in Greentree and McKees Rocks led investigators to the gang.
Kelly could face up to 20 years in prison, while Griffin and Pack could receive life in prison.