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Minneapolis gang member in jail gun ring pleads guilty

  • Article by: Paul McEnroe
  • Star Tribune
  • July 10, 2014 - 8:48 PM

A Minneapolis gang member who romanced a Hennepin County corrections officer and convinced her to buy guns for him while he was jailed pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to illegal possession of firearms.

Diontre Hill, 21, of St. Louis Park, faces up to six years in prison for his role in conspiring with the now-fired corrections officer, who has been charged with buying three firearms for him and fellow gang members last year.

While imprisoned at the county workhouse in Plymouth, Hill developed a romantic relationship with officer Jaquelyn Burnes, 29, according to agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who monitored their telephone conversations.

Agents heard the pair speaking in code, with Hill telling Burnes specific types of guns and ammunition he wanted, court records show.

During his plea hearing Thursday before U.S. District Judge John Tunheim, Hill acknowledged that the guns purchased by Burnes turned up last February when police searched a car in which he and other gang members were riding. The car was driven by Angela Carter, also indicted in the firearms case, who was a cook at South High School in Minneapolis.

Hill is a member of the “BTG” gang, which is linked to the Tre Tre Crips, police records show. He is also linked to the shooting of Carter’s 8-year-old daughter, who was critically wounded in May, just days before federal indictments were unsealed in the straw purchase case.

In addition to Hill, Burnes and Carter, two others were indicted in the case. They are Keniko Bland, 20, and Raheem Watkins, 21. At the time he was indicted, Bland was facing state charges of using a gun while threatening to kill his girlfriend. He is a member of the Tre Tre Crips, according to police records. In 2011, Watkins was convicted of using a gun during an aggravated robbery, records show.

No sentencing date has been set for Hill. Motions by the other defendants are pending.


Paul McEnroe • 612-673-1745

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