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Friday, 30 January 2009

12 suspected members of the Top-6 gang who prosecutors said terrorized Palm Beach County residents

Jessee Thomas, 22, and Ernst Exavier, 25, were convicted by a jury in December on criminal racketeering charges brought by Attorney General Bill McCollum's office as part of a regional law enforcement effort last year to crack down on gangs. Thomas also was convicted of conspiracy to commit racketeering, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of forged notes.Thomas and Exavier, both of Lake Worth, were among 12 suspected members of the Top-6 gang who prosecutors said terrorized Palm Beach County residents. Prosecutors said the gang is connected to several murders and drug crimes. Two members of the Top 6 gang in Lake Worth were sentenced today to a quarter century in prison each - the first significant victory in Palm Beach County for statewide prosecutors now applying racketeering laws to dismantle criminal gangs.Defense attorneys for Ernst Exavier, 25, and Jessee Thomas, 22, argued at their sentencing that the case was one of guilt by association, that the men never had admitted to being members of the gang, and if they were involved at all, it was as lesser players. Exavier testified his only intention was to make music with Top 6.Circuit Judge Karen Miller, who presided over their racketeering trials earlier this year, clearly disagreed, finding that the men were members of the gang and handing down lengthy prison terms.Exavier and Thomas are among 12 Top-6 gang members arrested within the past year during a coordinated operation by the attorney general's office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and the Lantana and Boynton Beach police departments.
Jurors convicted Exavier of racketeering, yet acquitted him of conspiracy to commit racketeering. Jurors convicted Thomas of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, along with various lesser charges.Attorney Gerald Salerno, who represented Exavier, said in 17 years of practicing criminal law he had never seen a case like this one with a huge investigative effort but thin evidence. Salerno offered the example of Exavier's song lyrics about pushing kilos of cocaine being prominently emphasized at trial. "Despite that we never saw one shred of evidence" of any drugs, he said.Attorney Mark Koenig represented Jessee Thomas. Thomas' brother, Tommy, is also charged and awaiting trial. Koenig argued Jessee Thomas had no gang tattoos and was never photographed making Top 6's distinct hand sign. "Just because it's your brother doesn't mean you are part of this conspiracy and this organization," Koenig told the judge."This is guilt by association. When it comes to racketeering and conspiracy," Koenig said, taking a long pause. "I don't see it. I don't see it."


Samson on 21 October 2009 at 05:30 said...

These judge don't get the picture police just looking to get more black people off the streets! An willing to do anything so that it happen! Some of these guys are completely innocent I my self consider a Top6 member only bcuz I'm a haitian black male could of been a man behind bar 4 no reason. So I believe innocent people shouldn't be charged but that's up 2 karen miller that if she not wrkn wit da polic!!!

tommy on 7 December 2009 at 05:21 said...

It's about time, I think anyone associated with a gang like this should be locked up no matter the color of skin. They wouldn't last a week in my town, we don't put up with punks that need a group like this to feel big or think they are somebody. This is the land of the free, it;s bad that we have american's going to these countries and laying their lives on the line to help them, so they can come here and put more innocent peoples live's in danger. Why would any american want to associate with that. Line them up I say

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