June 2, 2017
The mastermind of a violent crime wave that swept over numerous Houston-area cell phone stores faces 25 years to life in prison.
Following a complex two-week trial in the 177th District Court, jurors convicted Terrence “T-Streets” Edwards of the crime of directing the activities of a street gang.
They are to begin deliberations on his punishment Friday.
“T-Streets will be off the streets for decades,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “These gang members placed innocent citizens in fear for their lives.”
Hundreds of phones, especially iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices, were taken during a half dozen robberies carried out in 2015, but the crime group was believed to have had a hand in scores of previous heists.
The robbers stuck guns in the faces of customers and employees and herded them into back rooms.
In one job under Edwards’ direction, his robbery team shot at a witness and at a Houston Police officer while trying to escape.
Edwards, 26, is a documented member of the Fifth Ward Circle street gang, but those who robbed for him were members of various criminal organizations who had gotten together to make quick cash.
Edwards recruited teenagers and others to commit the robberies, which he set up and supervised. He provided participants with stolen cars and high-powered firearms with extended magazines. The stolen high-end phones would later be resold to fencing operations that would send them on to Dubai and other countries.
“We resorted to this statute, with unusually harsh penalties, because this robbery kingpin posed such a continuing threat to public safety,” Ogg said.
* This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys William Cowardin and Aaron Chapman.