PHILADELPHIA, PA — Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Hassan Griffin, 25, a/k/a “Glizzy,” “Frizzy,” “ODOG,” and “GlizzytheHitta,” of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to 12 years in prison, 10 years supervised release and a $2,000 special assessment by United States District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg for conspiracy to distribute and distribution of phencyclidine (“PCP”), and cocaine base (“crack”) through the Drug Trafficking Group (DTG) he led in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Griffin and eight other individuals, James Grimes, 30, a/k/a “Speedy,” “Dink,” “HM;” Andrew Gault, 29, a/k/a “Fly,” “Butterknife King,” “BKK;” Katina Grimes, 32, a/k/a “Snoop,” “SnoopdaHitta;” Tyreeq Lenair, 29, a/k/a “Bear;” Quran Justice, 24, a/k/a “Skee;” Wayne Brunson, 27, a/k/a “Weez;” Unterrio Parris, 27, a/k/a “Dudda,” “Didda;” and Anthony Hill, 30, a/k/a “Turk,” “Turt;” were charged by Indictment in April 2018 with numerous counts of drug trafficking offenses arising from their participation in the “TruHittaz” DTG that controlled the 700 and 800 blocks of East Madison and East Willard Streets in Philadelphia. To anyone driving by, this was a residential neighborhood, lined with rowhomes, trees and parked cars. But to the TruHittaz and their customers, it was – as they called it – “the block” and “the jungle.” It was a place where some of the very row homes, alleys and vacant lots that lined those streets became stash locations (hiding spots) for the drugs supplied by these defendants and sold by their workers, and for the guns supplied by James Grimes to protect their block, their drugs, and their profits from being robbed. Witnesses recounted driving these streets in the summer months and smelling the distinct odor of PCP in the air while the bottles and caps used to package and sell this dangerous drug littered the road and alleyways.
Led by Grimes and Griffin, the TruHittaz obtained quantities of phencyclidine, cocaine base, heroin, marijuana, and other controlled substances from suppliers, both outside and within the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. They then sold these drugs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, by employing a network of bosses, caseworkers, trappers and lookouts, such that when one member was unavailable for any reason, another took his or her place. When a member returned from arrest, prison, or even after being shot, s/he immediately resumed his/her criminal activity. This allowed the TruHittaz to sell at least five ounces of PCP and 10 bundles of crack every twelve hours – meaning that it took just over seven days (not including the night shift) to sell a kilogram of PCP and 280 grams of crack.
The TruHittaz DTG made large sums of money and protected its operations by selling drugs, carrying and using firearms, engaging in acts of intimidation and threats, and by recruiting individuals in their own community who were financially or otherwise vulnerable. The group operated in an open-air market undeterred by the presence of law enforcement, local arrests, or shootings in the area. Their main stash house (where over a kilogram of PCP, hundreds of vials and other packaging paraphernalia and numerous rounds of ammunition were seized) was located directly next to an operating daycare center. Their drug territory and many “offsite” sales took place in direct proximity to several area schools including: Philip Sheridan School, 800 East Ontario Street; the People for People Charter School, 800 North Broad Street; the Woodrow Wilson Middle School, 1800 Cottman Avenue; the Russell H. Conwell Middle School, 1849 East Clearfield Street; and the Resurrection Regional Catholic School, 2020 Shelmire Avenue.
Griffin’s sentencing yesterday brings to a close a more than five-year effort by federal and local law enforcement to disrupt and dismantle the TruHittaz DTG. The above-named defendants were sentenced to a total of 73 years in prison followed by lengthy periods of federal supervision.
“This vast and sophisticated drug trafficking enterprise left a path of destruction across Kensington and throughout Philadelphia,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Today’s sentence brings to a close our dedicated effort to take down the nefarious TruHittaz criminal organization, and we remain committed to cutting off the supply of deadly drugs into our communities.”
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys MaryTeresa Soltis and Christopher E. Parisi.
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