TEXARKANA, Texas–A founder and leader of Texarkana-based street gang Loyalty Cash Business was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday on racketeering-type charges related to two murders and drug trafficking.
Courtney Derell Hope, 35, also known as “Blocc,” was incarcerated in another county when Jermaine Aldridge was shot and killed in the parking lot of Chili’s restaurant in Texarkana, Texas, during December 2020 but investigators determined he and fellow gang members orchestrated the murder because he believed Aldridge had stolen $100,000 of his drug money, according to court records.
“The Defendant and/or other members of LCB contacted individuals from the Memphis, Tennessee, area to come to Texarkana to carry out the hit on Aldridge,” records state.
Records show that Hope and other LCB members arranged for the July 2021 murder of Joseph Hawkins who was shot in the head as he sat in his car in front of a house in the 1700 block of W. 3rd St. in Texarkana, Texas.
Court records also give the gang credit for the September 2021 killing of Keith McFadden across the state line in Texarkana, Ark.
Taking Down A Gang, Investigation Ongoing
The Bowie County District Attorney’s Office is working to dismantle Hope’s criminal gang by charging alleged members with engaging in organized criminal activity in a sophisticated scheme to launder profits from the sale of drugs.
Court records in Hope’s cases show that investigations into a number of area murders, robberies and other crimes have been frustrated by witness tampering and intimidation. But the charge of engaging in organized criminal activity by laundering drug money can be proven with banking records and the social media accounts of the many LCB gang members who have been charged, court records show.
While racketeering charges are typically leveled by federal prosecutors, First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp, a state prosecutor, opted to use the Texas statute that makes participating in organized crime a felony offense. Crisp said the investigation into LCB has been proceeding since at least 2017 and involves a number of area law enforcement agencies including Texarkana Texas Police Department, Nash Police Department and Texas Dept. of Public Safety.
“I anticipate more arrests in the future,” Crisp told TXK Today on Monday. “There is no way to put a number on the hundreds and hundreds of man hours law enforcement has put into this investigation.”
The gang formed multiple business entities which are registered with the Texas Secretary of State, including I-30 Cartel entertainment, under which the gang records rap music and videos that highlight and glorify a violent criminal lifestyle and describe Hope as “hood rich,” according to records.
“LCB members are known to distribute illegal drugs, including, but not limited to marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, Xanax, hydrocodone and promethazine. LCB members traveled to various locations in the United States to obtain the drugs to distribute in Texarkana and/or Bowie County, Texas, and the surrounding areas,” records in Hope’s criminal cases state.
The gang formed entities including R&B Trucking, H&H Trucking and Hope’s Hauling to make it appear that the money earned from drug trafficking was legitimate. According to records in Hope’s case, the gang used a commercial truck to move pounds of marijuana and currency between Texarkana and states like California, Washington and Oregon.
Members of the gang, along with women connected to Hope and the gang, allegedly transferred cash into the business entity accounts to make it appear the cash was profit generated through a bona fide trucking service. Documents filed in Hope’s case show that he has been routinely communicating and expressing romantic feelings with four different women, including his wife, while in the Bowie County jail where he has been held since June 2022.
Among those charged with engaging in organized criminal activity in connection with the gang’s alleged criminal activity are Deanna Hope, 26, Courtney Hope’s wife; Cedric Alexander, 32; Breuntre Miller, 37; Kizzie Waller, 37; John Alex Jones, 34; Troyquez Daniels, 30; Rakeem Griffin, 34; Markeis Richardson, 36; Calvin Gardner, 34; Terrance Butler, 28; Van Grissom 35; and Dallas Swafford, 46, Bowie County records show.
Loyalty Cash Business or LCB was originally formed as a juvenile street gang called “Little Cuz Boys” in approximately 2003, according to records in Hope’s case, which identify him as a founding member.
Warrants are outstanding for Breuntre Miller, John Alex Jones, Rakeem Griffin and Markeis Richardson. Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts is asked to contact the Texarkana Texas Police Dept. at 903-798-3226 or the Texarkana office of the Department of Public Safety at 903-255-5700.