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Monday, 28 July 2008

Lerome "L'il Rome" Franklin,Floyd Aaron "YG" Martin,Secrets of the Trigga Mob Gang

08:57 |

For two weeks, the secrets of the Trigga Mob Gang have spilled out in a Sacramento courtroom, into a story of fear and danger – and the newest twist on the way things work in the city's modern-day gang life.Virtually unknown outside its relatively small membership and the few streets it seeks to control in North Sacramento, the Trigga Mob is still a focus of murder and witness intimidation investigations, and it remains a key manipulator of drug activity on one of the area's meanest streets, according to trial testimony and other court records.
Its reputed leader has a tattoo that identifies him as a "five-star general." He's on trial along with another TMG member who police say is a top "soldier" in the outfit. They're accused of trying to kill a loosely affiliated gangster who they thought had turned snitch. If the Trigga Mob is limited in its geographic reach, it is hugely significant in what it represents about Sacramento gangs. Its 10 to 25 members make up what police and academics call a gang "subset." In TMG's case, it's the long-established Del Paso Heights Bloods that provides the larger umbrella group. And the Trigga Mob's relatively recent emergence exemplifies the splintering of larger "sets" that operate under the banner of the better-known Crips and Bloods gangs.Besides the Trigga Mob, there is its main rival – Keep It Lit. Also on the north side are the True Heights Villains, Elm Street, the Farm Boys, the Beast Mob and the Flat Dogs. All identify with Del Paso Heights and all claim Blood affiliation.Multiply them by the rest of the city's high-crime neighborhoods where broken families and social ills turn young people onto the streets, and the picture of Sacramento gangs in the year 2008 comes more into focus, one leading local gang expert said."It's been happening for the past few years," California State University, Sacramento, criminal justice professor Jim Hernandez said of the fragmentation. "We start out with Crips and Bloods and Norteños and Sureños, and as the gangs have kept growing, you start getting a difference in personalities. They start splitting up, and they become different gang groups and they have different things going on."The breakdown carries potentially ominous consequences. Hernandez said it may make it tougher for police and prosecutors to convince juries that a bunch of fellas from the neighborhood are acting in concert as a gang, even as the same guys are wreaking havoc at the same time in their smaller patches of turf.
"Now we have independent gangs, with tattoos from groups that may not mean anything. And with some gang membership having a fast turnover, it may be more difficult to tackle. It's much more complicated."
The tale of the Trigga Mob is being told in Department 32 at Sacramento Superior Court in the case of the People v. Lerome "L'il Rome" Franklin, 24, and Floyd Aaron "YG" Martin, 21. They're accused of conspiracy and attempted murder. If convicted, they face sentences of 25 years to life.According to trial and preliminary hearing testimony, Franklin (according to a police description of his tattoos, he's the "five-star general") called Martin, the "soldier," from downtown's Main Jail on March 15, 2007, and told Martin to "get on money."
"Money" was the nickname of a reputed Blood associate named Timothy Hurst. Franklin believed Hurst set up his arrest earlier that day on robbery and other charges. Police and prosecutors took Franklin's phrasing to mean that he wanted Martin to do Hurst some harm.That night, outside the Economy Inn on El Camino Avenue, someone shot Hurst five times."It's a done deal," Martin told Franklin in a conversation taped later on the jail telephone line, according to a district attorney's cover sheet contained in court documents.Hurst survived the onslaught. When police questioned him shortly after the attack, he declined to cooperate. Later, he testified that he feared another assault. He also testified that he feared the shooters might target his sister and niece.

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