Five members of street gang get prison for guns, carjackings, as crackdown on crime continues in Twin Cities

In a separate case, man gets 15 years for using gun as an ‘Armed Career Criminal’

U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.jpg
U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger
Contributed/U.S. Attorney's Office

MINNEAPOLIS – Five men have been sentenced to prison for a string of armed carjackings and various firearms violations, according to U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

Isaiah Stacy Alstad, 23, pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting carjacking, and was sentenced yesterday before Judge John R. Tunheim to 110 months in prison.

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James Brock Williams, Jr., 21, and Clifton Germaine Walker, Jr., 25, were previously sentenced to 56 months and 110 months, respectively, for conspiring to use, carry, and brandish firearms during and in relation to armed carjackings.

Jordan Sydney Shamah Rhodes, 23, was previously sentenced to 72 months for being a controlled substance user in possession of a firearm.
And Joshoamei Deangelo Richardson, 21, was previously sentenced to 84 months in prison for aiding and abetting using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to an armed carjacking.

A sixth codefendant, Eric Troy Ballard, Jr., 20, remains in custody pending further proceedings.


According to court documents, between May 2020 and January 2021, the defendants maintained active membership in the street gang known as the “Top 5.”

The purpose of the gang was to make money for its members through criminal acts, including thefts, robberies, and distribution and sale of controlled substances. Proceeds of the money obtained through the commission of criminal acts were distributed among the gang members.

Top 5 members would use, carry, and possess firearms to commit these criminal acts, as well as carry out acts of violence against others, including shootings and assaults. Top 5 members used social media to discuss criminal activity, recruit new members, and display cash, firearms, and controlled substances.

According to court records, on Aug. 25, 2020, at approximately 2:30 a.m., a victim was carjacked at gunpoint and pistol-whipped near the 1200 block of Jackson Street in St. Paul.

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That same day, at approximately 6:50 a.m., a second victim was carjacked at gunpoint in the parking lot of a restaurant near White Bear Avenue in St. Paul.

About 9 a.m. that same day, a third victim was carjacked at gunpoint on Maria Avenue near Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.
All six defendants were charged for their roles in these carjackings and related illegal possession and use of firearms during some of these crimes.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Saint Paul Police Department, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Columbia Heights Police Department, and the South Saint Paul Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Bejar and Thomas Calhoun-Lopez.


Man gets 15 years for being an ‘Armed Career Criminal’

A Minneapolis man was sentenced to 180 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for possessing a firearm as an Armed Career Criminal.

According to court documents, on July 20, 2020, Minneapolis police officers pulled over a GMC Envoy with Romelle Darryl Smith, 33, riding in it.

Believing Smith was a suspect in a shooting investigation, officers ordered him out of the car. Smith told the officers he was carrying a Ruger LCP handgun with a Viridian laser attached. He was arrested on a Minnesota Department of Corrections warrant.

Prior to the arrest, Smith had been convicted of four adult felonies as well as a domestic assault misdemeanor conviction, subjecting him to enhanced sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act.

Smith was sentenced Aug. 25 in U.S. District Court by Judge John R. Tunheim, after pleading guilty to one count of felon in possession of a firearm as an Armed Career Criminal.

This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Minneapolis Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah E. Hudleston prosecuted the case.

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