Four alleged members of the Byrd Gang were charged under the Louisiana Racketeering Act and in other crimes related to a violent drug-trafficking enterprise based in Central City, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office announced on Monday.
An Orleans Parish special grand jury on Oct. 23 handed up a 16-count indictment charging Tyrone “Six” Bovia, Chance “Doona” Skipper, James “Poo” Alexander and Randy “Tokey Hefner” Calvin with racketeering. In Louisiana, racketeering is punishable in Louisiana by a prison sentence of up to 50 years.
The announcement of the indictment was delayed to give law enforcement officers a reduced-risk opportunity to arrest the suspects. As of Tuesday morning, only Calvin remained at large.
According to the indictment, Byrd Gang members express a strong association in social media posts with the former Magnolia housing development, now Harmony Oaks. Its rival, the Ghost Gang, is connected with the former Calliope housing complex, now Marrero Commons.
The indictment details more than 30 overt acts committed by some or all of the defendants in furtherance of their criminal enterprise. Many of the acts involved gun violence directed toward members of the rival Calliope Ghost Gang.
Among the most notable was the afternoon shootout between rival gang members in the shopping district along the 1900 block of Magazine Street that left two gang rivals and a bystander a half-block away wounded by gunfire on Aug. 25, 2017.
At about 3:30 p.m., according to the indictment, Calvin, Alexander and Skipper went into Foreign Clothing on Magazine and confronted a Ghost Gang associate, referred to as “T.H.”
When the rival gang member walked out of the store, the three followed. Alexander, the indictment states, pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and hit T.H. across the back of the head. T.H. then took out a gun as Alexander raised his, and a sidewalk shootout commenced, injuring both men. One of the bullets also injured an employee at a nearby business.
Calvin and Skipper loaded Alexander into a gray four-door Infinity and sped to University Medical Center, where they dropped him off without getting out of the car. Alexander was arrested at the hospital. Court records show that the charges in this incident, including one count of attempted second-degree murder filed against Alexander, were dismissed in April 2018.
Another shootout ended in a death. On May 3, 3018, three masked men unleashed multiple rounds of gunfire from assault rifles in the New Orleans East apartment of a Ghost Gang member. Minutes later, Bovia and Alexander arrived at New Orleans East Hospital with the body of fellow gang member Terrance “Shoota” Augustine. Augustine was 24 when he died in the shooting, and the list of survivors in his obituary included an unborn son.
In a more recent incident detailed in the indictment, Bovia and his 1-year-old son showed up at University Medical Center on Sept. 4 with gunshot wounds to the head. Bovia gave multiple names to the New Orleans police officers at the hospital before admitting his identity. Then he gave different stories of how and where the shooting happened. He eventually fled the hospital, leaving the child behind.
The indictment includes the following charnges:
Bovia, 23 (nine counts): Racketeering; the unlawful killing of Terrance Augustine; conspiracy to commit second-degree murder; two counts of attempted second-degree murder; illegal discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence; conspiracy to obstruct justice; obstruction of justice in a homicide investigation; possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.
Calvin, 28, and Skipper, 23 (five counts each): Racketeering; conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin; conspiracy to obstruct justice; obstruction of justice in a homicide investigation; accessory after the fact to attempted second-degree murder.
Alexander, 27 (15 counts): Racketeering; the unlawful killing of Terrance Augustine; conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin; conspiracy to commit second-degree murder; four counts of attempted second-degree murder; two counts of illegally discharging a firearm during a crime of violence; two counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice; two counts of obstruction of justice in a homicide investigation; accessory after the fact to attempted second-degree murder.
Bond was set at $1.9 million for Alexander, $1.3 million for Bovia and $500,000 each for Skipper and Calvin. Alexander, Bovia and Skipper are scheduled to appear for arraignment today (Nov. 5) before Criminal District Judge Camille Buras. Calvin’s arraignment is set for Nov. 20.
The indictment can be viewed here.
Assistant District Attorneys Alex Calenda and Irena Zajickova presented the case to the grand jury.