Members of a North Baltimore-based gang dubbed the “39 babies” and the “green team,” who authorities say presented themselves as a rap group and regularly discussed killings and other crimes on a group chat, have been charged with murder and other crimes in a sweeping indictment.
“In this case, drugs were funneled into Baltimore neighborhoods, violent acts were committed with no regard for human life or innocent bystanders, firearms were used freely to harm and murder,” said Toni Crosby, the assistant special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Baltimore field office.
Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, whose office is prosecuting the case, joined Crosby and Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison at a news conference announcing the indictment Wednesday.
In all, the indictments filed July 26 charge 11 men, and connect the group to four homicides, eight attempted murders, carjackings and other crimes. Ten of the defendants are in custody, and authorities continue to search for 19-year-old Jalen Wise. The ATF is offering a $5,000 for information leading to his arrest.
The case began after a double shooting in the 600 block of Wyanoke Ave. in the city’s Pen Lucy neighborhood on Feb. 12, 2020. Prosecutors from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office wrote in the indictment that Karon Johnson, 20, Donye Thompson, 25, and other members shot and killed 22-year-old Deonte Henderson and injured a second man.
“The ballistics evidence linked firearms used to kill Henderson [and injure a second man] to multiple incidents involving homicides, nonfatal shootings, firearms discharges, carjacking, and other violence crimes, all involving these 11 individuals,” Frosh said at the news conference.
“Often, the shootings were retaliatory,” Frosh said.
Johnson, who faces 104 counts, including murder and gang-related charges, did not have an attorney listed in online court records.
Thompson, who is also charged with murder, faces 50 total counts. His attorney, James Sweeting III, said Wednesday he is still awaiting discovery materials from the state, but believes that the case was overstated and misrepresented his client.
He cautioned against reading too much into the state’s case, which he call an “illusion,” and said the facts would come out in court.
The ATF crime gun enforcement team, which includes ATF agents and Baltimore police officers, conducted the investigation. The ATF brought then brought case to the attorney general’s office.
Harrison credited the BPD’s gun crime intelligence center in the investigation, which he said “played a pivotal role in generating intelligence and evidence linking these cases.”
The commissioner called the group “an organization that terrorized our neighborhoods with violence.”
The group initially called themselves the “39 babies,” named after the 21239 city ZIP code where most of the members live, but later called themselves the “green team,” according to the indictment They added “GreenTeam” or “#greenteam” to their Instagram bios, and had discussed on a group chat buying green stickers from Staples to put on their guns to identify themselves.
“I just found a hard ass name yo, we going by the green team from now on,” one member wrote in a group chat, where members discussed, among other things, the possibility of committing a murder-for-hire to make money, the indictment said.
The indictment alleges that the gang sought “to raise its status and intimidate rivals” through rap lyrics and music videos where they displayed firearms and promoted acts of violence.
In addition to Henderson’s death, the indictment accuses two members of the gang, Johnson and Gregory Beadles, 20, of fatally shooting 17-year-old London Stuckey on Dec. 13, 2019, in the 5600 block of Woodmont Ave. in the Woodbourne Heights neighborhood in North Baltimore. Baltimore Police had previously released surveillance footage that captured Stuckey with two people walking behind him shortly before his death.
An attorney for Beadles did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
On Jan. 6, 2020, about a month after Stuckey was killed, authorities said that another man was shot and injured as he sat in a car in the 5200 block of Kelway Road, near Chinquapin Run Park in the New Northwood community in North Baltimore. The indictment said the members drove a Nissan Altima that was carjacked two days earlier in that shooting, and a month later in the shooting that killed Henderson.
Nearly two months later, on Feb. 25, 2020, authorities allege, five members fired 36 times into the front of Daryus Valines’ home in the 1600 block of Pumphrey Ave. in O’Donnell Heights in East Baltimore during a drive-by shooting.
The indictment said the “green team” members targeted Valines in retaliation for a shooting outside 18-year-old green team member Stephen Harrington’s home. The shooting outside Harrington’s home is believed to have been committed by associates of Valines’, according to the indictment.
Valines, 19, was convicted of attempted first-degree murder last year and is serving a 12-year sentence, online court records show. Charging documents said Valines was identified as the shooter in an overnight shooting on July 20, 2020 on Redwood Street, near Calvert Street, downtown. The documents do not identify a motive.
Harrington is charged with conspiracy and illegal firearm possession charges. His attorney declined to comment Wednesday.
One of the firearms fired at Valines’ home was also used to kill Henderson in the double shooting Feb. 12, 2020, as well as in another shooting in January, the indictment said.
Authorities allege that two gang members shot two men on July 13, 2020, in the 1900 block of Collington Ave. in South Clifton Park in North Baltimore in retaliation for the killing of Devontaey Curtis two days earlier. The day after the double-shooting on Collington, one of the “green team” members shot at a vehicle he mistakenly believed was being operated by the person who killed Curtis.
Authorities allege that members of the gang were responsible for the July 16, 2020 killing of 21-year-old Kyon Thomas in the 500 block of Sheridan Ave., in the Woodbourne-McCabe neighborhood. The same gun was also used in a nonfatal shooting two days earlier and a second nonfatal shooting later that month, the indictment said.
Authorities also allege that Datwain Jackson, among others, was responsible for the death of 19-year-old Andrew Frazier. The teen was shot in the head Aug. 22, 2020, in the 900 block of Tunbridge Road in the in Mid-Govans community, also in North Baltimore. The public defender’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday on Jackson’s charges.