Leader of popular Houston rap label, The Sauce Factory, responds to ‘gang' accusations
HOUSTON – The leader of a popular rap label responded to accusations that his label is actually a documented gang. The Sauce Factory, or TSF, has been described in state court documents as “known for criminal activity” and in federal court documents as a “documented gang” that “in addition to their gang activities, TSF is a known rap group with an online presence and following.”
In fact, TSF was recently mentioned during a hearing in federal court as part of an investigation into sex trafficking of minors.
“I'm a CEO of a record label, we drop albums, I got seven artists,” said Albert Walker Mondane, who goes by the moniker “Sauce Walka.” “We're a prestigious record label of young men that give out inspiration and leadership to a lot of young people in Houston and all over Texas.”
There is no denying TSF and “Sauce Walka’s” popularity. Mondane’s Instagram account alone has more than half a million followers, and his Twitter account shows another 66,000 followers. Rap videos posted online also rack up millions of views.
“Like 50 million views, that's what you need to say, I got over 50 million views on the internet,” said Mondane.
When Channel 2 Investigates spoke with Mondane at a home in a gated community on the west side of town, we asked why police view TSF as more than a record label.
“Why do police label The Sauce Factory a gang?” asked Channel 2 Investigator Robert Arnold.
“Honestly, I don't know why. I don't know if it’s a misunderstanding from the videos or something, just a misunderstanding from the past, whatever they perceive that is,” said Mondane.
Mondane admits he's had past trouble. In 2009, Houston police wrote he went by 'A-Walk' and was a member of a "criminal street gang" called "Mash Mode." Court records show he was charged with shooting and wounding a person on the Texas Southern University campus during a concert. Court documents read Mondane eventually pleaded guilty to deadly conduct and served out his community supervision. After that, Mondane said he put that life behind him.
“That was just me being a younger myself and I have matured and grown up to a man now, and I have a family and I take care of a lot of people and I just do business now,” said Mondane.
He said current accusations against TSF are either lies or people confusing gritty lyrics and videos with real life.
“Every celebrity has lies, and made-up stories and folk tales made up about them,” said Mondane. “They say if you can't stand the heat, then get out the kitchen. If you're not ready for people to lie on you and make up things because you are a celebrity, then that means you shouldn't be a celebrity.”
To be perfectly clear, Mondane is not accused of doing anything wrong. However, our questions came after a July detention hearing in federal court.
During the hearing, a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy trained in human trafficking investigations testified about two underage girls involved in prostitution.
“Have you been involved in an investigation involving individuals engaged in the sex trafficking of minors with a crew called The Sauce Factory, formerly known as the Mash Mode?” an assistant U.S. attorney asked the deputy.
“Yes, ma'am,” she responded.
The deputy was also asked about the TSF name.
“This TSF, The Sauce Factory, has that been trademarked by anyone?” the federal prosecutor asked.
“It has,” the deputy responded.
“And who's that?” the prosecutor asked.
“It's been trademarked by the head member, which is Albert Mondane, a.k.a. Sauce Walka,” the deputy said.
The deputy testified that part of the investigation started with a Thanksgiving call for help from an underage girl at a motel off the North Freeway.
“She said that she was forced to prostitute and that she was also threatened by a handgun,” the deputy said.
Several people were arrested in that incident, including Jaimian Rashaad Sims. He and three other people were charged in state court over this incident.
Federal court records show Sims goes by the name "Sauce Lean" or "JLean" and “Walker and Sims are principal leaders" of TSF. Videos posted online and Instagram posts show Sims rapping with Mondane.
“Is he your partner, is he, what?” Arnold asked Mondane.
“Don't really speak on that. Don't really speak on, speak on all that, it's my friends, I have friends, I'm a big brother, I look out for a lot of people, I take care of a lot of people,” said Mondane.
Mondane said Sims was just one of several rappers hoping to further careers under TSF's umbrella.
“He had his own fan base, he brought his fan base to the label and we rap,” said Mondane. “We provide a lot of up-and-coming artists with a place to stay, or a place to do your music, or to record your music, we give them leadership on what type of beats to select.”
He said anything beyond music doesn't involve him.
“Have you talked to him since he got arrested?” asked Arnold.
“I'm not speaking on none of that,” said Mondane.
Still, the federal investigation involving Sims and others landed on TSF's doorstep, literally. Federal court records show TSF refers to the house where we spoke with Mondane as "The Mansion." Court records read a federal search warrant was executed at the home in March after video surveillance “showing Sims entering The Mansion with (Minor Victim 2).”
During the federal detention hearing, Minor Victim 2 was described as another underage prostitute.
“She describes it as a hierarchy where "JLean" or Jaimian wouldn't communicate directly with minors, he had what she described as "crash dummies," who were lesser pimps or smaller pimps beneath him he would send to do that type of stuff,” the deputy testified.
The deputy also testified that the teen from the Thanksgiving incident told investigators she too was taken to “The Mansion” for a short time before being taken to the motel.
“Ain't no girls ever been in my house, nothing like that,” said Mondane. “That ain't got nothing to do with me.”
Court documents show that after the search was conducted, a gun “was found in a space connected to the room which Sims is alleged to have used as a bedroom.” This prompted Sims to also be charged with felon in possession of a firearm. Court records read Sims served five years in prison on a charge of aggravated robbery.
After the search was conducted, Sims and the others charged in the federal case remained the only ones accused of wrongdoing. All four people charged in the case were denied bond after the hearing. The attorneys representing those charged in the federal case declined comment at this time.
Mondane said he knew nothing about the activities leading to the charges in state and federal court. He said he keeps focused on expanding his business and does not worry about whether TSF is accused of being a gang.
“I'm going to keep rapping because I know I'm not a gang. I know we're not a gang, I know that I'm a record label, I know that I'm an artist,” said Mondane. “I'm not into gang activity or none of that stuff that's going on, I'm not worried about that, it's not what's going on.”
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