Portland’s “Top Hustler” gang defendants reach plea deals in racketeering case
Richard Cowen, Liberty City Record Published 5:15 a.m. ET Dec. 3, 2017
Portland — Six alleged members of the Top Hustler Boys, the Portland street gang accused of drug-running and attempted murder, accepted a group plea deal in their racketeering case on Wednesday.
In an unusual move, the state Attorney General’s Office offered the last-minute deals to avoid what was likely to be a series of long trials in the far-ranging case, which was built on hundreds of hours of undercover work, surveillance video and information from confidential informants.
There was one hitch amid marathon negotiations at the Portland Courthouse: The state said it would take the offer off the table unless all defendants accepted the deal.
"This was a multi-multi-count case," said Johnathan Sims, attorney for Aaryn Fraters, 22, who is charged with heroin possession and intent to distribute. Sims characterized the plea deals as a "compromise."
Deputy Attorney General Heather Rodriguez spent most of Wednesday making offers to the defendants and their attorneys, and by 4 p.m., all sides had reached a deal.
Rodriguez told the judge that all she needed was for her boss at the Attorney General's Office to sign off on the deals, which is expected. She declined to comment after the hearing.
Superior Court Judge Adam Mohammed said he would formally accept the pleas on Thursday. That will end the state's high-profile case against the Top Hustler Boys; a gang authorities blame for multiple shootings, including the slaying of 12-year-old Sarah Hernandez by a stray bullet in 2014. The group is also deeply involved in the heroin trade in the Hepburn Heights district of Portland, police say.
We roleplay a realistic drug crew with gang influences. You can message me if you are interested, we want you to develop your character and roleplay in a realistic manner around drug trafficking. We want to slowly expand into a fully operational DTO, this we will do step by step.