REPORT:

Parents' warning after 2-year-old climbs pool safety ladder goes viral

Is Dayton’s Diamond Cut a music label or street gang? Here’s what both sides say


The “Diamond Cut” group in Dayton is either a music label for new artists, a street gang dealing drugs or a movement, depending on who is talking.

Ten years ago, Dayton rapper Clarence “Chaos” or “CCSERVA” Winn Jr. told this news organization that a criminal record “helps in this industry,” but said, “Not to say go out and commit a crime. The streets empowered me. I didn’t choose this.”

Winn pleaded guilty Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court to one of six drug- and gun-related counts on which he was indicted. Winn will be sentenced Sept. 12.

READ MORE: Dayton rap artist ‘Chaos’ pleads guilty to distributing drugs

Last week, Darrius “Tay” Reynolds was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for a “mule” role in which he delivered drugs and was expected to collect cash.

Larry Winn, Clarence’s brother, pleaded guilty in March and is scheduled to be sentenced June 19. Larry Winn could serve more than a decade in prison, according to court records.

Here’s what both sides say about Diamond Cut:

What members have said: In 2008, law enforcement said area gangs would feature rap artists on their MySpace pages. Winn responded.

“Diamond Cut is not in any way shape or form a gang,” Winn wrote on his page at that time. “It’s a lot of people out there that scream Diamond Cut for the wrong reasons. Some people give it a bad name.”

Symbols: Young adults at Winn’s shows and area parties threw up a Diamond Cut symbol — two peace signs with hands held together sideways to resemble a diamond-shaped formation.

“Whoever throws up ‘D-Cut’ has it wrong,” Winn said in 2008 of the hand sign. “I can’t be responsible for fans of my music or my friends.”

Authorities call it a gang: Dayton police and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office have called the group a criminal gang. A 10-count indictment involving purported members came out in 2007.

Clarence Winn said he came up with the “D-Cut” idea in 1998 and a few close friends and family who helped him with music got tattoos.

The 2007 indictment alleged “supermarket traffic” at a building on North Main Street where police found heroin, crack, powder cocaine and men shooting dice. They had “D-Cut” tattooed in script letters on their left hands.

Registered company: Twice arrested and given probation for state gun charges, Winn registered the FamFirst record company with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office in 2005.

FamFirst sold more than 200,000 compact discs of Winn’s single “I Get It In” (as “Chaos”), which was enough to earn him the top spot on Billboard’s Hot Singles chart for independent artists.

5 prosecutions in 1 round: In 2015, the last of five alleged Diamond Cut members pleaded guilty to selling more than 100 grams of heroin stemming from a 2012 arrest.

The defendants in that round of prosecutions included Brandon Lee “Ace” Smith, Quinton “Big Mike” Clemons, Leo “Butter” Boykins, Quinten “Q” Robinson and Marcus “Roscoe” Ross.

Bust in 2017 led to current charges: Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said a “substantial” fentanyl trafficking bust was made in March 2017, which led to the current charges. Plummer said then that $160,000 worth of drugs was seized.

Recent cases: In a prosecution memo before Reynolds’ sentencing, assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi wrote the group had more convictions than hit records: “While Mr. Reynolds characterizes this entity as a record label, many of its associates – whether classified as aspiring artists (in the defendant’s view) or members of criminal street gang (in the opinion of law enforcement) – have worn a path into the federal courthouse in Dayton on various drug trafficking charges.”

RELATED STORIES

Alleged gang member pleads guilty in drug trafficking case

Another local gang maintains power and influence in Dayton

Substantial fentanyl operation busted

Dayton rapper detained before trial on drug trafficking, gun charges

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Mark Gokavi on Twitter or Facebook

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE MOBILE APPS



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Local KFC closes dining room for extensive renovation
Local KFC closes dining room for extensive renovation

The lobby and dining room inside KFC restaurant at 2109 E. Dorothy Lane in Kettering are closed for an extensive remodeling project. The restaurant’s drive-through, however, will remain open during construction, a spokesman for the restaurant told this news outlet. “We should be done around June 27,” the spokesman said.
Coroner’s office responds to crash in Dayton
Coroner’s office responds to crash in Dayton

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office responded to a crash in Dayton early Monday morning. The crash was reported at 2:50 a.m. at the intersection of Danner Avenue and Richley Drive.  This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.
'Everything Is Love': 3 things we learned from Beyoncé and Jay-Z's surprise album
'Everything Is Love': 3 things we learned from Beyoncé and Jay-Z's surprise album

Just when you thought Beyoncé and Jay-Z were turning their attention to their globe-trotting “On the Run 2” tour, which kicked off earlier this month in Wales, the couple managed to re-direct the conversation with the surprise weekend arrival of “Everything is Love.” Here are three things we learned from...
2 in custody after cruiser struck, pursuit in Dayton
2 in custody after cruiser struck, pursuit in Dayton

A pursuit that started when a pickup truck struck a cruiser ended in Dayton early Monday morning with two in custody. The pursuit started shortly before 1:30 a.m. in the area of Germantown and Gettysburg when a black Chevrolet Silverado reportedly struck a deputy’s cruiser. The pursuit ended around 1:50 a.m. in the area of Gettysburg Avenue and...
Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center
Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center

Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic. Traffic conditions are updated every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM. No major incidents to report No major incidents to report Ongoing Construction & Other Closures  Live look at highways on our traffic cameras here...
More Stories