Mother of 21-year-old killed by Howard County gang leader speaks.

BALTIMORE — Two years after a landmark indictment, six members of a gang operating in Howard County have been sentenced on convictions ranging from drug distribution to murder, county officials said Tuesday. A leader of the gang was convicted of murder on Monday, and an eighth man is expected to be sentenced this week.

Jeremi Lewis, Anthony Jenkins, Daquan Woodson, Justin Harper, David Wainwright, Jr., Terrence Hux, Tavon Hawkins and Antonio Haywood were indicted nearly two years ago after a months-long investigation into the “59 Hoover” gang.

Lewis, a leader of the gang, was found guilty Monday in the 2021 shooting death of Jaden Ealy and other gang-related charges. He faces a maximum sentence of life without possibility of parole plus 100 years.

Other members indicted were sentenced as follows:

Daquan Woodson: Sentenced to 65 years with all but 18 years suspended
Justin Harper: Sentenced to 16 years with all but 9 years suspended
David Wainwright, Jr.: Sentenced to 15 years with all but 8 years suspended
Terrence Hux: Sentenced to 14 years with all but 4 years suspended
Tavon Hawkins: Sentenced to 15 years with all but 4 years suspended
Anthony Jenkins: To be sentenced February 16
An investigation began in late 2020 once investigators determined serious crimes happening in Howard County were connected to the same group, which aimed to establish a foothold in Columbia, officials said. The gang was an offshoot of the Crips, prosecutors said.

According to the indictment, gang members sold drugs to fund their activities, and they kept guns around to carry out violent crimes, protect their drug operation and prepare for retaliation.

Jaden Ealey was his mother’s pride and joy. Prosecutors said the gang’s leader targeted him outside an Exxon in Long Reach and shot him.

The crime was captured on camera.

Ealey died at Shock Trauma.

“Jaden was an aspiring rapper. He was very creative and fun, just a goofy kind of kid and he was very loved,” his mother told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren Monday. She asked that WJZ not publish her name.

“Specifically in Howard County, he had all the support. He had the best support system.”

Ealey loved football and played for four years at Oakland Mills High School.

“The loss of a child for any mother or father is the worst thing that could happen. The pain is unimaginable,” the victim’s mother said. “This guy, he may get a life sentence, but I’ve already gotten a life sentence. My family and I have to live with this. I have to live with this for the rest of my life knowing that I lost my son.”

Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson addressed the Ealey family at a news conference Monday. “There is no way that we can adequately compensate them or make right the pain they feel and address their pain, but we hope we can provide some semblance of justice through the outcomes of these cases.”

The 59 Hoovers were founded in Los Angeles, and prosecutors said the local offshoot trafficked guns and drugs into Maryland with Columbia as their base. They tagged several areas with orange and blue graffiti.

Authorities said suburbia was the gang’s perfect cover.

“If you operate in a clandestine way, and people don’t know what to look for, then you can operate with impunity. There aren’t a lot of other gangs in this community, so there’s not a lot of pressure from other criminal organizations,” Gibson said.

Howard County Police Chief Gregory Der told WJZ, “In late 2020, our investigators determined that many if not most of the serious crimes in Howard County could be linked to this small group. Investigations of guns, drugs and violence kept leading to the same suspects.”

The non-profit Columbia Community Care created the Torch Youth Fund in honor of Jaden Ealey.

“Justice is served, which is great, but it still doesn’t bring back my son,” his mother said.