The Department of Justice says one of its own “repeatedly” helped the Bloods street gang protect its interests by identifying and exposing informants and cooperating witnesses.
Tawanna Hilliard works in an administrative role for the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, court documents say. According to the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, over a period of more than two years, Hilliard used her access to information to help her son Tyquan Hilliard, 28, and his gang, the 5-9 Brims set of the Bloods.
Authorities have charged the Hilliards with six felony counts: witness tampering and harassment, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to tamper with a witness. Each carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
Tawanna Hilliard is also charged with illegally obtaining information from a protected government computer.
The Hilliards’ lawyer has not responded to a request for comment.
Court records show that Tawanna Hilliard pleaded not guilty to the charges and is out on $75,000 bail. Tyquan Hilliard has not yet be arraigned on the charges; he’s currently in a New York state prison serving the remainder of an 11-year sentence for robbery and assault.
The indictment says that the crimes began in 2016, when “a high-ranking member” of the gang told Hilliard to use her access at work to determine whether people were cooperating with law enforcement.
Officials found out about it only because Tawanna Hilliard called Tyquan Hilliard while he was serving a six-year sentence in a New York state prison for possession of a loaded firearm, according to court documents. Prison phone calls are recorded and monitored.
Tawanna Hilliard is also accused of looking up information on the gang member who allegedly told her to report back on informants. In another prison call, the mother and son discussed other gang members who would “use violence” against that “high-ranking member,” the documents say. Tyquan was irritated that the member involved his mother. READ MORE: