In addition to drug-trafficking, gang members were charged with multiple murders, shootings, aggravated assault, and witness intimidation.
The takedown of the Grape Street Crips is a story of drugs and firepower, betrayal and cold violence, involving a multi-million-dollar drug enterprise with a reach far beyond the state’s largest city. It played out against a background of dozens of murders, daylight shootings, street corner drug sales to suburban kids in cars, and out-of-state heroin shipments.
And at the center of it all, say federal prosecutors, was Hamlet, a 41-year-old charismatic gang leader who was more than wary about staying under the radar of law enforcement.
Nothing directly linked Hamlet to drug dealing or the city’s ruthless gang violence. He did no business on his phone. His name did not come up on government wiretaps. Prosecutors, though, said those who defied him frequently turned up dead.
And yet as the bodies “started stacking up and drug volumes increased,” they realized his name was on the lips of just about everyone.
“People think street gang members are not as smart as white-collar criminals. But Corey Hamlet is as smart as any CEO we’ve prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
Carpenito, as an assistant U.S. attorney. was part of the team that won a securities fraud conviction against the former chairman of Cendant Corp. in one of the largest accounting scandals of the 1990s.