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Violent Pot Ring Leader 'Hitler' Pleads Guilty To Oakland Murder For Hire

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A Louisiana man nicknamed "Hitler" who allegedly ran a violent marijuana trafficking ring has pleaded guilty to multiple conspiracy charges for hiring another man to murder a man in East Oakland in 2016, according to federal prosecutors.

Marcus Etienne, 38, of St. Martin Parish, La., and co-defendant Mario Robinson, 36, of Opelousas, La., and Oakland, who pleaded guilty to similar charges, admitted in their plea agreements accepted by U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup that they were involved in an enterprise based in Louisiana consisting of more than seven members who conducted a continuing and extensive narcotics distribution conspiracy, prosecutors said.

Marcus Etienne
Marcus Etienne (Oakland Police Department)

Etienne admitted that he was the leader of the enterprise, beginning as early as 2009, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors said Etienne and Robinson acknowledged that the enterprise engaged in murder, murder-for-hire, narcotics distribution, assault, robbery, extortion, money laundering, illegal firearms possession, gambling on dogfighting and obstruction of justice.

Etienne and Robinson could face life in prison when they're sentenced by Judge Alsup on April 7.

The men also admitted their roles in the murder of 28-year-old Trince Thibodeaux of Los Gatos in the 8900 block of International Boulevard at about 10:15 p.m. on March 22, 2016.

Prosecutors said Etienne ordered the murder of Thibodeaux because he believed Thibodeaux had stolen money and narcotics from the enterprise.

Etienne offered Robinson $5,000 to murder Thibodeaux, Robinson accepted the offer and then paid $1,250 to a third man to complete the murder.

An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in December 2018 alleges that Burte Gucci Rhodes was the person who shot and killed Thibodeaux.

Rhodes is being prosecuted separately and his trial is scheduled to begin next June 15.

The plea agreements for Etienne and Robinson said the enterprise bought marijuana in California and used the U.S. Postal Service to ship the drugs to Louisiana and Texas.

In addition, prosecutors say, Etienne admitted he bought and maintained dogs used for fighting in Breaux Bridge, La., on a property owned by another member of the enterprise.

Etienne and other members of the enterprise hosted dog-fighting at that property, matches at which attendees would pay a cover fee and bet money
on the dogfights, according to prosecutors.

Dogs, including some owned by Etienne, were seriously injured and even killed either during the events or as a result of the training leading up to the events, prosecutors said.

Etienne and Robinson could face life in prison when they're sentenced by Judge Alsup on April 7.

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