Prosecuted five Los Angeles Crips, including the first juvenile transferred to District Court in Nevada, for the takeover robbery of Harrah’s Hotel and Casino. The surveillance video of the thugs jumping into the casino cage, with one holding around the neck with a gun to his head, was shown extensively on national media, creating a furor in Las Vegas. The exceedingly violent 1994 crime, which occurred during the trial of the Wynn kidnappers referenced supra, was followed by a similar “takeover” robbery of The Flamingo Hotel and Casino by other L.A. gangsters the very next night. When the Wynn trial ended in convictions on all counts, I launched an extensive investigation of the dozen takeover robberies committed between 1992 and 1994 to ascertain possibility of common leader/organizers. We ultimately prosecuted several defendants for perjury and false statements; turned insiders; coordinated FBI, IRS and ATF with Southern California law enforcement agencies and ultimately dismantled the enterprise. We also provided Louisiana authorities with evidence which resulted in a life sentence in Angola State Prison for one of leaders in a drug case; another was killed when his girlfriend, charged with perjury, agreed to cooperate; two proceeded to trial – Melvin Foster pled the second day of trial; Chet Govan was convicted after trial, received 22 year sentence. The gang takeovers ended and the local press rightfully credited U.S. Attorneys Office. I was personally nominated for a Directors Award as a result.
See U.S. v Govan, 152 F3d 1088 (9th Cir. 1998) (published opinion)