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April 14, 2022

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ICYMI: Polk County Sheriff’s Office coordinates multi-agency year-long “Sex Money Murder” gang racketeering investigation; 41 charged

 Polk County Press Confrence

Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Polk County, Fla. — Detectives with the PCSO Organized Crime Unit, working together with the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, Ashley Moody, Attorney General, conducted a comprehensive Florida RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act investigation that resulted in 41 members and associates of the “Sex Money Murder” criminal gang enterprise being arrested or charged. The investigation was initiated in March of 2021 when, based on information obtained from historical on-going criminal investigations, detectives uncovered an extensive criminal network associated with the Sex Money Murder gang.

Out of the 41 identified during the investigation, 12 are charged with racketeering (see Florida Statutes Chapter 895 Florida RICO—Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization—Act) for their role in directing members in organized criminal activity, such as illegal drug sales, robberies, introduction of contraband into prisons, conspiracy to commit murder, and coordinated attacks on other gang members. The RICO charges are first degree felonies punishable as a life felony based upon specific provisions in FSS 874.04 (Gang-related offenses; enhanced penalties). In some cases, criminal gang members were in the Florida state prison system or in the county jail conducting and coordinating gang business.

The 41 suspects are charged with a total of 121 felonies and 40 misdemeanors. The suspects’ previous criminal histories include 1,147 felonies, 161 misdemeanors, and 205 felony convictions; an average of 28 felonies, 4 misdemeanors, and 5 felony convictions each.

“All you need to know about this gang is in its title: Sex Money Murder. We are not going to put up with these gangs brazenly coordinating and committing crimes in our communities. They are an organized criminal enterprise, ruthlessly focused on violence, theft, fraud, and profiting from the human misery and violence of the illegal drug trade. Our message to other gang members in Polk County and throughout Florida: don’t throw your life away on gangs. If you do, we will catch you, and you will go to prison for a long, long time.” –Grady Judd, Sheriff

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “This massive law enforcement operation eliminated the main state leadership of a notorious, nationwide gang operating across Florida. Our law enforcement heroes put in countless hours and risked their own safety to take down gangsters who demonstrated a complete lack of respect for human life. Because of these officers and my Statewide Prosecutors, we are all safer, and their actions will have far-reaching, positive implications on communities across the state.”

“FDC is proud to work in concert with our law enforcement partners as part of our of public safety mission,” said FDC Secretary Ricky Dixon. “This partnership represents an ongoing effort and our commitment to identifying and preventing criminal activity from occurring within our walls. Our staff is dedicated to ensuring a safe environment for those entrusted to our care and furthering public safety for all Floridians.”

FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said, “Meticulous investigative work led to the identification of local and statewide gang leadership ensuring this Blood-affiliated criminal gang can no longer terrorize our communities. Thank you to our FDLE agents, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Statewide Prosecution for making Florida safer.”

The investigation has been able to identify the ranking structure and numerous members of the gang, operating both inside and outside of prison and in the county jail, in Polk County, in various other areas of the state of Florida, and in North Carolina. Detectives uncovered multiple instances of coordinating crimes, directing and coordinating gang activities, recruitment of new gang members, discussing bond payments, and gang financing, including setting and collecting gang dues.

Detectives served six search warrants throughout the investigation in Lakeland (2), Winter Haven, Mount Dora, Orlando, and Lake City.

Illegal drugs, firearms, and currency seized:

• 21.45 Pounds of Methamphetamine
• 2,595 grams of cocaine
• 3,051 grams of cannabis
• 249 grams of MDMA
• 719 grams of Synthetic Cannabis
• 7.86 grams of Fentanyl (one gram can kill hundreds)
• 28 grams of Mushrooms
• 8 grams of Alprazolam
• 52 grams of Oxycodone
• 1846 grams of Promethazine
• 18 firearms
• $17,514.00 in US currency

The total street value of the drugs confiscated is over $1.5 million.

Two suspects have warrants for their arrests:

Hernando Thompson, Jr., 36, of Orlando has a Polk County warrant for his arrest for Racketeering (F1), Conspiracy to Racketeer (F1), Directing Criminal Gang Activity (F1) (3 counts). Thompson is the Sex Money Murder gang leader of Florida.

Xavier Ulysse, 27, of Lake Wales has a Polk County warrant for his arrest for Conspiracy to Commit Murder (F1). He attempted to arrange the murder of a gang member who robbed one of the leaders.

Sex Money Murder

The Sex Money Murder gang is a criminal gang which became a subset of The United Blood Nation. The gang was founded by Peter “Pistol Pete” Rollock, who is revered as the “Godfather” of the criminal gang—he is currently serving life in federal prison. The Sex Money Murder gang’s primary focus was initially street-level drug dealing, aggravated assaults, and murders to further their criminal organization.

As members of Sex Money Murder were arrested and incarcerated, they indoctrinated new members from other regions into the gang who were also in prison. This enabled the gang to spread throughout the east coast and into central Florida as more and more prisoners became members and then were released from prison.

According to the current investigation, in late 2018 and into 2019 and 2020, Polk County, and neighboring counties within the state of Florida began to experience a string of home invasion robberies and other violent and property crimes associated with members of the Sex Money Murder gang. Based on information developed by detectives, a wire investigation was initiated of the identified secretary of Polk County for the Sex Money Murder criminal gang, Cerenia Mixon. This ultimately allowed for the monitoring of communications for the leader of Polk County, Andree Romeus. Information obtained from monitoring those communications ultimately allowed for the monitoring of communications associated with the number one and number two ranking members for the State of Florida, Hernando Thompson and James Roundtree.

Communications were often heavily coded in an attempt to thwart any efforts to monitor criminal activity. Subsequently, detectives were able to identify a vast network of communications by the Sex Money Murder gang ranging from the street to within various prisons around Florida. Detectives worked with the Florida Department of Corrections to identify inmates and confirm gang affiliations while monitoring communications where instruction and direction was provided from leadership both within the prison and from the leadership on the street on how the gang should operate. Communications also revealed discussions on physical attacks on members in bad standing and an attempt to kill a gang member.

Florida RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act

In Florida (FSS Chapter 895 Sections 895.01-895.06), a racketeering offense (RICO) occurs when an unlawful organization commits or attempts/solicits/conspires to commit coordinated illegal activities such as murder, money laundering, embezzlement, extortion, weapons offenses, burglary, theft, bribery, and other crimes. In Florida, RICO is charged as a first-degree felony and it can result in 30 years imprisonment and significant monetary fines. In cases related to organized gang crimes in Florida, according to Florida Statute 874.04—Gang-related offenses; enhanced penalties—first-degree felonies can be enhanced to a life felony, meaning for RICO gang crimes the sentence can be up to life in prison upon conviction.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) was designed to prosecute individuals engaging in organized crime. A person can be charged with racketeering if they engage in a pattern of racketeering—such as committing at least two racketeering activities within a ten year period.

The following is a list of those arrested, the circumstances of their arrests, and details of the six search warrants, in chronological order:

May 31, 2019. One arrested:

Quandavize Street, 24, of Lakeland

• Attempted first degree murder
• Robbery with a firearm (3 counts)
• Armed burglary with assault
• Shooting into an occupied vehicle
• Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
• Possession of ammunition by a convicted felon
• Introduction of contraband into a jail facility

July 1, 2019. One arrested:

Artavious Smith, 21, of Lakeland

• Attempted first degree murder
• Robbery with a firearm (2 counts)
• Armed burglary with battery
• Shooting into an occupied vehicle
• Possession of a firearm by a delinquent

August 6, 2019. One arrested:

Jaquel Fleming, 25, of Auburndale

• Armed burglary with battery
• Burglary
• Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
• Resisting arrest
• Leaving the scene of a crash with property damage
• Fleeing to elude
• Fleeing to elude – reckless driving
• Knowingly driving with a suspended license

Undercover operation at 425 Van Fleet Dr. E., Bartow, July 21, 2021. 719 grams of synthetic marijuana was seized. Four arrested:

Marcus Mitchell, 19, of Lakeland

• Unlawful use of a two way communication device
• Conspiracy to intro contraband into receiving facility
• Trafficking synthetic cannabis

Telly Nance, 34, of Bartow

• Unlawful use of a two way communication device
• Conspiracy to intro contraband into receiving facility

Deondre Powell, 25, of Lakeland

• Trafficking synthetic cannabis
• Unlawful use of a two way communication device

A male juvenile* was also arrested for possession of marijuana.

Search warrant at 3625 Kathleen Rd Lot #7, Lakeland, September 24, 2021. Over 20 pounds of methamphetamine, 8 grams of alprazolam, 52 grams of oxycodone, and 1,712 grams of Promethazine were seized. Four arrested:

Dashawn Bather, 25, of Lakeland

• Possession of cannabis
• Possession of drug paraphernalia
• Violation of probation

Laconia Blake, 31, of Lakeland

• Trafficking Oxycodone
• Possession of alprazolam with intent to sell
• Possession of MDMA
• Possession of a structure/vehicle to sell narcotics
• Possession of drug paraphernalia

Antoine Cruz, 25, of Winter Haven

• Possession of alprazolam with intent to sell
• Possession of a structure sell narcotics
• Possession of drug paraphernalia

Destiny Daniels, 28, of Lakeland

• Trafficking Oxycodone
• Possession of structure/vehicle to sell narcotics
• Possession of paraphernalia

October 5, 2021. Two arrested:

Daniel Jackson, 29, of Winter Haven

• Possession of cocaine
• Aggravated assault on law enforcement (2 counts)
• Aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer
• Resisting arrest with violence
• Resisting arrest

Crameshia Jackson*, 26, of Winter Haven

• Resisting officer without violence

October 12, 2021. Over 367 grams of methamphetamine; 160 grams of MDMA pills, 15 grams of marijuana, and one handgun seized. One arrested:

Dornell Anglin, 26, of Haines City

• Possession of cannabis with the intent to sale
• Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
• Tampering with physical evidence
• Resisting arrest
• Fleeing to elude

Undercover operation at 2000 S.R. 60 E., Lake Wales, October 12, 2021. Over 112 grams of methamphetamine, a handgun, and $2,790 seized. One arrested:

Jamarr Cole*, 37, of Lake Wales

• Armed trafficking in Methamphetamine
• Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
• Grand theft firearm
• Carry concealed firearm
• Unlawful use of a two way communication device
• Possession of paraphernalia

Undercover operation at 131 Scottsdale Loop, Lakeland, October 13, 2021. One arrested:

Jasmine Weber, 28, of Winter Haven

• Defraud financial institution
• Fraudulent use of credit card
• Petit theft
• Criminal use of personal ID

Flagler County, October 24, 2021. Two firearms seized (one previously reported stolen. Two arrested:

Maclindell Hardy, 29, of Fayetteville, NC

• Grand theft of a firearm
• Possession of cannabis 20 grams or less
• No valid DL

Jonathan Fleming, 33, of Wilson, NC

• Conspiracy to Racketeer
• Carrying a concealed firearm

Fleming, the leader of the North Carolina Sex Money Murder gang was in Florida attending a mandatory national meeting for the illegal enterprise. The gathering occurred in Osceola County.

Undercover operation at 1035 Reynolds Rd., Lakeland, December 9, 2021. 0.66 grams of fentanyl seized (one gram can kill hundreds). One arrested:

Carlos Mercado*, 24, of Lakeland

• Sale of fentanyl
• Negligent child abuse
• Unlawful use of a two way communication device
• Possession of drug paraphernalia

Undercover operation near the intersection of Reynolds Rd and Ned Engle Blvd., Lakeland, January 4, 2022. Over 7 grams of fentanyl (one gram can kill hundreds), 37 grams of marijuana, and a handgun seized. Two arrested:

Demarrius Faniel*, 30, of Lakeland

• Possession of cannabis over 20 grams
• Possession of cannabis WITS
• Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
• Possession of ammunition by a convicted felon
• Possession of paraphernalia
• Violation of probation

Anteria Bell*, 28, of Lakeland

• Trafficking in fentanyl
• Possession of cannabis over 20 grams
• Possession of cannabis WITS
• Possession of structure to traffic narcotics
• Knowingly driving with a suspended license
• Possession of paraphernalia

Search warrant at 2461 Avenue C SW, Winter Haven, January 7, 2022. Over 90 grams of MDMA, 28 grams of mushrooms, 134 grams of promethazine, 3 grams of methamphetamine, and 249 grams of marijuana were seized. Three arrested:

Danyell Coggins, 47, of Winter Haven

• Possession of methamphetamine
• Possession of drug paraphernalia

John Davis, 40, of Winter Haven

• Trafficking phenethylamine
• Possession of methamphetamine
• Possession of cocaine
• Possession of heroin
• Possession of drug paraphernalia
• Possession cannabis over 20 grams

Wandy Noel, 30, of Winter Haven

• Knowingly DWLSR

Assisted FDOC Probation and Parole Services with a routine probation check at 3655 Peregrine Way, Lakeland, January 31, 2022. Three arrested:

Horatio Walker, 24, of Lakeland

• Racketeering
• Conspiracy to Racketeer
• Tampering with a Witness (gang enhanced)
• Violation of probation

Raquan Thompson*, 22, of Lakeland

• Possession of cannabis
• Possession of drug paraphernalia

Tyreke Thompson*, 20, of Lakeland

• Possession of cocaine
• Possession of cannabis
• Resisting without violence
• Possession of drug paraphernalia
• Violation of probation

February 3, 2022. Two arrested:

Kayshia Jenkins*, 35, of Lakeland

• Possession of suspended driver’s license

Kalaysha Wilson, 22, of Lakeland

• Possession of cannabis
• Possession of drug paraphernalia
• Violation of probation

Undercover operation at 1502 Recker Highway, Winter Haven, February 1, 2022. Over 40 grams of marijuana seized. One arrested:

Andree Romeus, 30, of Winter Haven

• Racketeering
• Conspiracy to Racketeer
• Directing Criminal Gang Activity (3 counts)
• Possession of cannabis over 20 grams
• Possession of cannabis WITS
• Possession of drug paraphernalia
• Possession of a structure to sell narcotics
• Knowingly driving with a suspended license

March 10, 2022. Over 30 grams of marijuana and $4000 seized. One arrested:

Leroy Scarlett, 29, of Bartow

• Possession of cannabis over 20 grams
• Possession of cannabis WITS
• Possession of paraphernalia

Search warrant at 975 Hyde Park Blvd #201, Lakeland, April 8, 2022. One arrested:

Cerenia Mixon, 22, of Lakeland

• Racketeering
• Conspiracy to Racketeer
• Directing Criminal Gang Activity (2 counts)

Search warrant at 416 E. Pine Ave, Mount Dora, April 8, 2022Over 512 grams of cocaine, 485 grams of marijuana, and 3 firearms (one was stolen) were seized. One arrested:

Tonisha Fisher, 36, of Mount Dora

• Racketeering
• Conspiracy to Racketeer

Search warrant at 4407 Sugar Loaf Way, Orlando, April 8, 2022. Over 1,535 grams of marijuana and one fully automatic handgun were seized.

Based on the search of this location and other information obtained during the investigation, a Polk County warrant was obtained for the arrest of

Hernando Thompson, the Florida leader of the “Sex Money Murder” gang.

Search warrant at 158 SW Magical Ter., Lake City, April 8, 2022. Over 2,080 grams of cocaine, 901 grams of marijuana, one handgun, two rifles, ballistic body armor, and $10,687 were seized. One arrested:

James Roundtree, 33, of Lake City

• Racketeering
• Conspiracy to Racketeer
• Directing Criminal Gang Activity (3 counts)
Roundtree was on probation at the time of his arrest for selling cocaine.

In custody when charged:

Donahue Stephenson, 33, currently incarcerated at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution, Milton

• Racketeering
• Conspiracy to Racketeer
• Directing Criminal Gang Activity

Tyreese Cruz, 24, currently incarcerated at the Central Florida Reception Center

• Racketeering
• Conspiracy to Racketeer
• Directing Criminal Gang Activity (2 counts)

Deshon Morris, 26, currently in the Polk County Jail

• Conspiracy to Racketeer

Rodney Street, Jr., 25, currently in the Polk County Jail

• Conspiracy to Racketeer

Antonio Taylor, 30, currently incarcerated in the Jackson Correctional Institution

• Conspiracy to Racketeer
• Directing Criminal Gang Activity (4 counts)

*The arrested person is a criminal business associate, NOT A KNOWN GANG MEMBER.

Here is a link to the Press Conference.

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