Virginia gang leader sentenced to 45 years for racketeering conspiracy, murder

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A former leader of the Nine Trey Gangsters was sentenced today to 45 years in prison for his role in a racketeering conspiracy that included the murder of 23-year-old Delante Eley.

According to court documents, Rashaun Antonio Taylor, aka “Diablo,” was a local leader of the Nine Trey Gangsters, a gang affiliated with the United Blood Nation.

On March 11, 2014, after a series of incidents between Delante Eley and members of Taylor’s gang, Taylor followed Eley to his grandparents’ home, where Taylor shot and killed Eley. Two days later, Taylor and other NTG members were stopped by police while armed with a high powered Romanian-made semi-automatic rifle.

Portsmouth Police detectives executed a search warrant on Taylor’s house and recovered gang paraphernalia and his cell phone. The FBI analyzed Taylor’s phone, which had been turned off for the two hours surrounding the murder, and found that nearly two hundred calls placed between the time of the murder and the traffic stop had been deleted.

A confidential informant later videotaped a gang meeting led by Taylor, and several days later Taylor was overheard by the FBI and Portsmouth Police via a wire transmitter admitting to the murder.

“Taylor murdered Delante Eley in cold blood and nearly killed two others,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Taylor was the leader of approximately 40 gang members, and for years proudly proclaimed his gang affiliation. Violence was something he encouraged and personally dispatched. He bragged about this murder as his “first body,” and regularly robbed people and sold drugs as his sources of income. Threats of violence against fellow gang members, non-gang members, and even a probation officer were common for Taylor, who has spent a lifetime putting others, and this community, in fear. This significant sentence will prevent Taylor from taking another life, and will serve the purposes of general deterrence by putting others, especially those interested in gangs or currently in gangs, on notice of the consequences for taking human life and glorifying murder as a way to gain status and respect.”

On Feb. 20, after a week-long trial, a jury convicted Taylor of racketeering conspiracy that included murder, the use of a firearm resulting in death, distribution of heroin, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, Operation Billy Club. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.

The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Angela Greene, Chief of Portsmouth Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John F. Butler, Andrew Bosse, and Joseph E. DePadilla prosecuted the case.


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