An up-and-coming hip hop artist faces a life prison sentence following a conviction by a federal jury on Thursday in Brooklyn, N.Y., for the executions of three members of a rival gang, drug trafficking and racketeering, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The jury convicted the aspiring hip hop artist known as Ra Diggs -- legal name: Ronald Herron -- after only one day of deliberations in Brooklyn Federal Court. Herron was identified as a leader for the Bloods set.
The 32-year-old, who was pronounced guilty of all 21 counts in the indictment, is the reputed leader of the Los Angeles-based Bloods "set" in New York City.
Besides hearing witness testimony and seeing physical evidence, the jury heard Herron’s rap lyrics and watched his YouTube videos which were presented as evidence against him in the trial. In one video he is heard bragging about beating a "murder rap", in which he retaliated against gang rivals who trafficked in narcotics. He also is heard boasting about being an upper-echelon member of the infamous Bloods street gang.
Federal prosecutors, the FBI and the New York City Police Department worked together to nab Herron and his drug crew, which routinely terrorized the inhabitants of the Gowanus Housing Project in Brooklyn.
"Ronald Herron and his gang of thugs preyed on their community while glorifying their criminal lifestyle," said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. "He styled himself a rap artist, but the jury’s verdict makes clear who Herron really is, a drug dealer and murderer who sought power through fear and intimidation.”
During the last 16 years, Herron perpetrated numerous violent crimes "in support of his drug trafficking operation in and around the Gowanus Houses and Wyckoff Gardens, two New York City public housing communities located in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn," according to an FBI press statement.
Herron was alleged to brag about his life of crime in songs and videos "in which he identified himself as the leader of the 'Murderous Mad Dogs' set of the Bloods Street Gang and claimed that he had previously “beat a body.” The jury rejected Herron’s claim that the videos were simply exaggerations and that he was an aspiring rap artist rather than a murderer," FBI officials stated.