Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro on Thursday (Aug. 1) announced his office has secured a special grand jury indictment charging four New Orleans men with violating the Louisiana Racketeering Act. The defendants are charged in a 26-count indictment with running a criminal gang enterprise involving auto burglaries, carjackings, shootings and armed robberies across New Orleans in the past 18 months.
“These are some of the most brazen criminals our city has seen in some time,” Cannizzaro said. “They have carried out their series of violent armed robberies, carjackings and nearly a dozen attempted murders, mostly in broad daylight. In some instances, they mockingly made their escapes by initiating high-speed chases on our city’s streets, knowing that our policy-restricted police department would stand down.”
The first count of the indictment charges the four with violating the Louisiana Racketeering Act, a crime punishable by up to 50 years in state prison (RS 15:1354). Those defendants include: Cornell Sparkman Jr., 18 (pictured top left); Quitman Hartford Jr., 23 (pictured top right); Jerome Jones, 25 (pictured bottom left); Dinero Alexander, 17 (pictured bottom right).
Sparkman, Hartford and Jones are in custody at the Orleans Justice Center jail. Alexander remains at large.
Detectives from the New Orleans Police Department’s TIGER unit and the investigative units of the 2nd and 6th Districts, in collaboration with Cannizzaro’s office, built a detailed case showing the pattern of violent crime committed by the defendants in areas ranging from Central City and Uptown to Gentilly and New Orleans East.
Members of the group often bragged about or even live-streamed some of their crimes on social media platforms. The individuals commonly used the gang name of “T-Blocc” and/or “JayBucka Nation,” and sometimes expressed affiliation with the “Byrd Gang/M3,” a group clustered around the housing development known as “Old Magnolia.”
The 24-page indictment details 64 overt acts of mostly violent criminal activity, committed in support and furtherance of the alleged street gang enterprise. The acts include armed robberies, carjackings, auto thefts, auto burglaries, numerous gun violations and at least 10 known murder attempts throughout the city.
Some of the most audacious crimes attributed to the group include the daylight carjacking of a blue Maserati in Gert Town at 4:30 p.m. on May 23, broadcasting a 15-minute Instagram Live stream of a high-speed escape in another carjacked vehicle, and the theft of a .40-caliber Glock 22 handgun from the secured trunk of an unmarked police vehicle belonging to an NOPD commander.
Not all the gang’s alleged activity ended successfully.
After a March 28 drive-by shooting that targeted rival gang members, the group abandoned a fatally shot co-conspirator in a stolen car ditched in the Garden District. In June 2018, Cornell Sparkman Jr. arrived a hospital seeking treatment of a gunshot wound to his foot, and was forced to admit he shot himself while attempting to remove a concealed firearm from his pants pocket.
And after being jailed in June 2019, Cornell Sparkman complained in a recorded jailhouse phone call that he had been knocked unconscious by a rival gang member and had his underwear stolen. He refused to identify his assailant to Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office officials, and no underwear has been recovered.
Assistant District Attorneys Alex Calenda and Irena Zajickova presented the case to the grand jury.
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