Four New Orleans men formally charged for involvement in ‘gang activities’

NEW ORLEANS – Four men where formally indicted for their roles in the running of a criminal gang enterprise.

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro says charges in the 26-count indictment include auto burglaries, carjackings, shootings and armed robberies across New Orleans.

All of the crimes took place over an 18-month period.

“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.

Currently in custody are 18-year-old Cornell Sparkman Jr., 23-year-old Quitman Hartford Jr. and 25-year-old Jerome Jones.

Police say 17-year-old Dinero Alexander, remains at large.

The 24-page indictment details 64 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.

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.”

Members of the group often bragged about or even live-streamed some of their crimes on social media platforms.

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.

*A previous version of this article listed the age of Jerome Jones as 29-years-old, but the Jerome Jones described in this story is 25-years-old.

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