Man will spend rest of his life in prison

A Chula Vista man was sentenced July 20 to life in federal prison for his role in a gang-related racketeering enterprise that included execution-style murders, sex trafficking, and witness intimidation.

Wilbert Ross III, 32, was the first person sentenced among four convicted on March 11 of conspiracy to conduct racketeering in a complicated trial that lasted five weeks. He was also found guilty of sex trafficking of a minor and by force.

U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ordered Ross to pay $42,803 to the California victim’s compensation board and a separate victim. It is expected he will share this restitution amount with the three others who were convicted in the same trial.

Sabraw ruled the life sentence should run consecutive to whatever he receives in San Diego Superior Court for voluntary manslaughter. Ross is expected to receive 22 years on Aug. 12.

“It’s a relief to know that this ruthless gang member will never again bring violence into San Diego neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “This life sentence is a strong signal to gangs that you are not invincible, and you will be held accountable.”

The federal racketeering statute Ross and three others were convicted of has historically been used to prosecute alleged mobsters and organized crime, but Duffy said her office has been using the law on street gangs in recent years.

Duffy said gangs are increasingly acting as “organized criminal enterprises.” She said four murders occurred that were gang-related and the group also used a 15-year-old girl and another woman as prostitutes.

The other men convicted with Ross were Terry Carry Hollins, 33, Jermaine Gerald Cook, 31, and Marcus Anthony Foreman, 28, all of San Diego. Hollins was expected to be sentenced this week and Cook and Foreman will be sentenced Aug. 26.

The four people killed were all shot in the head. They were Andres Caldera, Meashal Fairley, Chyrene Borgen, and Paris Hill, according to court records.

Attorney Michael Berg, who represents Ross, wrote in court documents that Ross walked through gang territories on his way to school. At age 12, Ross got involved in gang activities and moved out on his own at age 14, Berg wrote.
Berg unsuccessfully urged the judge to impose a 25 year sentence rather than a life sentence.

Ross was charged with 36 others in federal court in 2014, and 34 people have pleaded guilty and received assorted sentences. Two others have been convicted in single trials.