Latin Counts gang member sentenced amid Detroit gang crackdown
Detroit — A member of the Latin Counts street gang was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison Thursday for his role in a drive-by shooting that left a fellow gang member dead of friendly fire.
U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland sentenced Alberto Jackson, 20, four months after the accused gang member pleaded guilty to two racketeering crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering. He is among more than 92 people convicted of federal racketeering crimes in the last five years during a crackdown on violent Detroit street gangs, a crackdown outlined in "Death by Instagram," a serial narrative published last year by The Detroit News.
The conviction stems from a drive-by shooting in a southwest Detroit neighborhood on Oct. 7, 2017, that left a fellow gang member dead, two others injured and the intended target unscathed.
Jackson was a member of the Latin Counts and affiliated with the gang’s Toledo Mafia Counts subset, prosecutors said. The Toledo Mafia Counts started on the 5600 block of Toledo Street, in southwest Detroit and gang members use social media to start and take credit for violent acts and other criminal activities, including murders, assaults and drug dealing, according to the government.
"The nature and circumstances of Jackson’s criminal conduct are appalling and exhibited callous disregard for human life," Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis Crisostomo wrote in a sentencing memorandum. "Jackson’s criminal conduct with his fellow Latin Counts gang members is a stark example of how the Latin Counts criminal enterprise poses a grave threat to public safety."
In court filings, prosecutors describe a rift within the Latin Counts that led to the shooting. Jackson and others were upset with a member of another Latin Counts subset and decided to kill him, prosecutors said. The member is not identified by name in court records.
Jackson and other gang members, including one identified by the initials "R.R.," rode in several vehicles, including a red pickup truck, to a home in the 2400 block of South Liddesdale Street, near the intersection of Fort Street and Schaefer Highway. The members started shooting at the home of the intended target, prosecutors said.
"During the shooting, Jackson fired several bullets from a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun," Crisostomo wrote in a court filing. "... one of the Latin Counts members who rode to the scene with Jackson, R.R., exited the red pickup truck, stood out on the street, and fired bullets during the shooting, too."
The intended victim was uninjured. Two victims inside a nearby parked car were shot multiple times but survived the attack.
They "were not the planned victims of the shooting but were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time," the prosecutor wrote.
"R.R.," the fellow gang member, was struck by a bullet, fell to the ground and died outside the house.
"Jackson and his fellow Latin Counts members left R.R.’s body in the street to be found by responding Detroit police," Crisostomo wrote. "The bullet recovered from R.R.’s body and other evidence established that a fellow Latin Counts member fired the bullet that killed R.R."
Prosecutors say Latin Counts member Ryan Taylor fired the fatal bullet. Taylor also pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 14. Five other members of the gang have been convicted for their roles in the drive-by shooting.
Defense lawyer Ronnie Cromer requested a prison sentence capped at 20 years, saying Jackson was extremely remorseful.
In a court filing, Cromer recalls his client explaining why he joined the gang.
“All the other boys in my neighborhood joined or they were beat-up or harassed all the time," Jackson said, according to the filing. "But we loved each other like we were a real family.”