The sixth and final gang member who engaged in a series of violent armed carjackings and related gang activity in St. Paul beginning in 2020 has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in the crimes.
Eric Troy Ballard, Jr., 21, was sentenced this week to 70 months in prison following his guilty plea in April of this year to one count of conspiracy to use, carry, and brandish firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence, namely aiding and abetting carjacking, according to information released by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger.
According to court documents, between May and December 2020, Ballard along with five co-conspirators maintained active membership in the street gang known as the “Top 5.” The purpose of the gang was to make money for its members through criminal acts, including thefts, robberies, and distribution and sale of controlled substances. Proceeds of the money obtained through the commission of criminal acts were distributed among the Top 5 members. Top 5 members would use, carry, and possess firearms to commit these criminal acts as well as carry out acts of violence against others, including shootings and assaults. Top 5 members used social media to discuss criminal activity, recruit new members, and display cash, firearms, controlled substances, and some carjacked vehicles. As part of the investigation, police seized 10 firearms from the group, various narcotics, and cash.
Case information details several incidents that occurred on Aug. 25, 2020. Beginning at approximately 2:30 a.m., a victim was carjacked by members of the group at gunpoint and pistol-whipped near the 1200 block of Jackson Street, in St. Paul. That same morning, at approximately 6:50 a.m., Top 5 members, including Ballard, carjacked a second victim at gunpoint in the parking lot of a restaurant near White Bear Avenue in St. Paul. At approximately 9:00 a.m. that same day, a third victim was carjacked by the group at gunpoint on Maria Avenue near Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.
Five other defendants were sentenced about a year ago, as follows:
Isaiah Stacy Alstad, then 23, pled guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting carjacking and was sentenced to 110 months.
James Brock Williams, Jr., then 22, pled guilty to conspiracy to use, carry, and brandish firearms while carrying out a carjacking and was sentenced to 56 months.
Clifton Germaine Walker, Jr., then 25, pled guilty to conspiracy to use, carry, and brandish firearms while carrying out a carjacking and was sentenced to 110 months.
Jordan Sydney Shamah Rhodes, then 24, pled guilty to using a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 72 months.
Joshoamei Deangelo Richardson, then 22, pled guilty to aiding and abetting conspiracy to use, carry, and brandish firearms while carrying out a carjacking and was sentenced to 84 months.
Unlike Minnesota state sentencing which currently only requires offenders to serve two-thirds of their sentence incarcerated, federal inmates must serve a minimum of 85 percent of their sentence before becoming eligible for supervised release.
This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Saint Paul Police Department, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Columbia Heights Police Department, and the South Saint Paul Police Department.
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