WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Two guys who started out as part of
a rap group which then - prosecutors say - turned into one of South
Florida's most violent gangs are on trial for racketeering.
The trial, which charges the pair under state laws against gangs, opened Tuesday in Palm Beach County. Prosecutors say Ernst Exavier, 25, and Jessee Thomas, 22, are connected with Top 6, a gang responsible for 150 shootings and at least 14 homicides.
Racketeering has historically been charged in organized crime
cases. Prosecutors trying the case must prove only that Exavier and
Thomas committed two offenses during their affiliation with the
Defense attorneys say the two men are only rap musicians, and
Authorities contend that Top 6 has about 350 members who control
at least 10 predominantly Haitian or Haitian-American neighborhood-based gangs throughout Florida.